I have come to bring the sword to the earth
Readings: 1st: Is 1:10-17; Ps: 50; Gos: Mt 10: 34-11:1
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Today, Monday of the fifteenth week of ordinary time, Matthew presents the last part of Christ’s discourse on mission.
Our world is full of many kinds of contradictions. So, to an “infant”, the word of God may seem to contradict itself.
Today, Christ shocked his listeners: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.”
There is no doubt, that this discourse presents some difficulties, and what may seem a contradiction. This is especially, given that one of Christ’s most cherished title is: “The prince of peace” (Is 9:6).
In his beatitudes Christ taught: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). He said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (Jn 14:27).
On the contrary, today Christ “threatened” the world with a “sword”, contrary to the peace that the messiah was expected to bring.
However, if read patiently and meditatively, the “contradiction” disappears, and the truth emerges. First, this is a great reminder that the good news may be misunderstood, and consequently, the misinterpretation becomes the source of much discord.
Of courses, today many families do not live in peace because some members have completely misinterpreted the word of God. Thus, instead of using it unite, they have manipulated it to sow discord and division.
Also, through this, Christ reminds us that the gospel will question existing traditions and hierarchies. It would certainly be a contrast to their principles as well as, a threat to their existence.
Hence, those who bear the message, or identify with it may not be spared of this great resistance and persecution. Rather, their peace would be disturbed.
At times, close associates, brothers, sisters and even parents are the leaders of this resistance, persecutions and even betrayals.
This is the “sword” that Christ is talking about. In fact, he was a victim of this sword himself, and all his faithful followers may not be spared from this sword.
However, the good news is that: “By your endurance, you will gain your lives” (Lk 21:19), and certainly, everlasting peace will be ours.
Peace be with you all!