“Do you think that 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.”
Jesus is the master of saying things to unsettle us and upend the status quo. We know he taught that the most important of all commandments was to love God and to love your neighbor…so we know Jesus did not mean in today’s scripture verse that his mission was to cause division. His mission was to heal and repair divisions. As author and theologian Ilia Delio says, Jesus was a “whole-maker.” However, Jesus promised that following him would result in persecution and division. Why? Because following Jesus means standing up for the poor, those without power, the outcast, the forgotten…all those left out. It means promoting justice but also forgiveness and compassion in a world that calls for punishment and revenge. That would require all those with power, prestige and wealth to reach out in generosity to those with no power, status or possessions. It would require changing unjust systems that trample on those at the bottom. Following Jesus can sometimes take you down a lonely and unpopular road…but that road will lead you to true life, freedom and wholeness.
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Remember…God loves you!