Thus said Deacon Tim Schabell of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cold Spring, KY during his homily on August 18 regarding the gospel for that Sunday (Luke 12:49-53). Here is an excerpt from that reading:
“Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother…”1
So, Jesus came to split families? Of course, He didn’t. Deacon Tim told the congregation that Jesus was using a literary device to make His point. Jesus knew His world-changing message would not always be accepted easily, even within families. As the St. Joseph parish bulletin for that weekend reminded us, the early converts to Christianity had little difficulty with the intellectual aspects of their conversion. It was the emotional consequences they faced when they left the spiritual tradition of their families, often causing conflict and heartache.
Jesus and His Wish For Unity
We know that Jesus wants unity. During His three-year public ministry, He spoke of the unity within the Trinity and His wish that all believers may be as one. From John 17:20-22: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”2
But Truth Must Not Be Sacrificed, Even to Keep the Peace
While His message is one of peace, Jesus does not want truth compromised in order for people to get along. As the deacon said, “Jesus can be warm and fuzzy. He can also be blunt and forthright.” In other words, it is not peace at all costs when proclaiming the gospel. Or as Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;…”3
Modern Examples of Defending Truth Leading to Conflict
Today, there are several issues which people of faith may have a difficult time standing firm in the face of modern relativism. Deacon Tim reminded us of four areas where defending the truth of the gospel must be done assertively when we are faced with these situations:
1) When we hear some proclaim that gay marriage is acceptable
2) When some declare that killing humans inside the womb is OK
3) When people believe that we should look to the government for guidance instead of
to the Church
4) When anyone in our family condones any other immoral activity
After stating each of these, he said, “There should be some division there.”
Defending the eternal truths contrary to these popular viewpoints will often be difficult. However, because we are more concerned with everyone’s afterlife instead of uneasiness in this one, we will persevere. As Deacon Tim summed it, “We are ultimately made for another world and we should live accordingly.”
1 – From “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing, Wichita, KS, 2005
2 – Ibid.
3 – Matthew 10:37, Ibid.