Sunday, July 14, 2013

Not Peace but the Sword

Not Peace but the Sword

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Yet the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.  The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel and reduced them to cruel slavery, making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.  Exodus 1:12-14
Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.  I have come to bring not peace but the sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.  Matthew 10:34-36



Today’s readings are not the modern marketing equivalency for effective recruitment of new church members.  Jesus is not enticing people to follow him with cubes of sugar to help the medicine go down.  Instead, he is providing a heavy dose of reality.
This kind of reality is sometimes in short supply on a Cursillo weekend.  We like to reduce our talks to pithy little sentences like these:
  • Be a friend, make a friend, help that friend become a friend of Christ.
  • You and I are the only scripture that many people will ever read.
  • A leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
  • Talk to God about people before you talk to people about God.

These nuggets help the medicine of our talks go down smoothly and set up great table conversations.  However, when all is said and done, the reality of the Fourth Day is that we are commanded to “pick up our cross daily” to follow Jesus.    For three days on the weekend experience, we leave behind the pain of daily life – the daily life to which we will return. 
The slavery that the Israelites experienced in Egypt is not unlike the slavery to which we have grown accustomed to in life.  Although we are not being forced to build temples for the Pharaoh, we are building temples to the “gods” of Wall Street, K Street, Hollywood and Vine.  In our altered states, we worship at the flicker altar of ABCCBSMSNBCFOXCNN.  We commit sins of omission with the beasts of iTunes, eBay and 


On a day that the Church memorializes St. Charles Borromeo, we certainly might need a “doctor of the church” to help us deal with the difficult prescription in today’s readings. What chains of slavery are the readings today asking you to break?  What is it that distracts you from the mission Christ wants you to pursue?
·         Drugs or Alcohol?
·         Esteem?
·         Food?
·         Possessions?
·         Power?

How will you use the sword of Christ to break the bonds that tie you to this world?  Because when you are freed from these concerns, then you are free to be the kind of person Jesus would be if He were lucky enough to be YOU!

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