Homily: 29th Week Ordinary Time, 23 October 2008
Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA
Without prayerful reflection:
Jesus seems to contradict His own words.
He seems to contradict the prophecies the Old Testament made about Him.
In the Gospel, He said,
“I have not come to establish peace, but I have come to establish division.”
Did Jesus really come to establish division?
What is He talking about here?
Certainly He is a man of peace. He’s the Prince of Peace!
Isaiah prophesied about Him that He’d be —“Angel of the great counsel, mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Father of the world to come.”
After His birth in Bethlehem:
The Angel and a multitude of the heavenly host saying to the shepherds:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased”.
After His resurrection:
He’d often greet His disciples: “Peace be with you.”
He also instructed His disciples:
To bring peace from house to house or from town to town.
He said, “If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it’s not worthy, your peace will return.” Mt 10:13
All these reference tells us that He is the Prince of Peace; that He promotes peace.
But it seems the opposite of what He just tells us through the Gospel: “I have not come to establish peace, but I have come to establish division.”
He has come to bring division!
Is Jesus promoting family arguments every time family gathers together?
Is Jesus callings Dads to fight and argue with his sons or Mothers with her daughters, Mother-in-law with her daughter-in-law, etc?
Is Jesus advocating violence within families — physical abuse, emotional, or even verbal abuse? Is that what Jesus is advocating?
NO! The answer is an emphatic NO to all the previous questions I asked you!
What is He saying them? What does He mean when he said: “I have come to bring divisions”.
Or rather — what causes division? What brings division in the family?
What causes division in the family is TRUTH! Truth causes division!
A member of a family have discovered the truth about the Catholic Church. Most of his life, he’s been told lies about the Church. Now, he comes to realize the truth. So he enters the Church. But then the rest of the family doesn’t see the truth as he sees it. Not yet at least — so they think he’s nuts. They think he’s out of his mind and the family is divided because of this.
Truth causes division!
A daughter who is pregnant wants to have an abortion. But her mother knows the truth. The truth is that there is another person in the womb. No matter how small — a person is a person! So the mother tried her best to save the child and the daughter tried her best to get an abortion. In the process the two are divided which brings the entire family to be divided as well.
Truth causes division!
A father is telling his son to go to Mass on Sunday because he knows that’s best for his son. The truth is that from the Mass one’s soul is nourished with good and solid spiritual food not some spiritual junk food that causes one to be unhappy. The son doesn’t see the truth about the Mass as his father sees it. Because of that, they’re divided — father against son!
Truth causes division!
A son is planning to vote for a presidential candidate at the upcoming election because he sees a good future for him and his family. Yet, he fails to realize the candidate he plans to vote for has a 100% pro-abortion record. So his father reads to him the little news article from yesterday about the two Texas bishops (Dallas and Fort Worth) where they clarified that
“Voting for a pro-abortion candidate when there is an alternative option is to cooperate in evil, and therefore morally not permissible”. [otherwise, one’s salvation may be at stake].
The son did not understand! Father-son go back and forth arguing the issue.
Again, truth causes divisions!
This is what Jesus meant —
He came to bring not peace but division.
He brings truth — the eternal truth — the objective truth.
This is the fire which He wants spread throughout the world — the fire of God’s Divine Love — the fire of truth!
Jesus reveals Himself as the Way, the TRUTH and the life!
He is Truth Himself! And Truth causes division!
And loyalty to Jesus is even more important that family unity for Jesus said: “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple!
Besides loyalty to Jesus being more important than family unity, peace is possible only if we embrace him in faith; only if we embrace Truth Himself in faith.
Peace is rooted in our reconciliation with God in harmony to His Holy Will. It is not merely the end of warfare!
Loyalty to Jesus is loyalty to Truth! And the Truth will truly set us free!
St. Augustine: “People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth. They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them”
St. John Chrysostom: “Those who wage war against the truth are powerless to win; rather, they wound themselves, like those who kick against spikes.”
St. Thomas Aquinas in his famous Eucharistic hymn: “What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth Himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.”
Yes, truth causes division! Yes, Jesus has come to bring division! And now He wishes the truth to be received and fully lived like a blazing fire that spreads and covered the entire world!
“Nothing conquers except truth” as St Augustine said.
John Henry Cardinal Neumann said, “Error may flourish for a time, but truth will prevail in the end."
As the antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah for today’s Memorial (St. John of Capistrano):
“He who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God”.