Who is this Jesus who pronounced these hard words? It seems to be the exact opposite of what he taught about love and mercy. Instead of peaceful living, the gospel challenges us to accept a new idea, a different concept of being a disciple. At first, the words are confusing, puzzling. What does he mean that he is bringing a sword?
By our Baptism, we became his disciples, and by Confirmation, we were strengthened to become soldiers for Christ. Now, with swords in hand, we are charged to fight against evil and wrongdoing using the spiritual sword of the word of God. We acknowledge the gospels as the truth that rules our lives. We unite with him, who loves us when saying “yes” to these precepts. Divisions may occur against anyone who denies his teachings, the guidelines we must follow and evangelize. Accepting that we must put God before anyone or anything in our lives is a resolute task. He has set the rule, and it is up to us to change whatever keeps us from obeying him totally and completely!
Love God before our immediate family members? It’s up to us to decide who to stand with, those we know and live with, or become sincere disciples. Can we give of ourselves entirely (gift of self) as Saint Peter Julian Eymard did on his long retreat in Rome? It is not an easy task to master. The challenge is to turn away from people who are part of our earthly family, to take up his cross, and continue his mission in our world. As faithful disciples, we will search for him in the poor and needy, the stranger, and all those suffering. We learn to love them as he has loved us.
Who or what comes first in your life today? Will you accept the sword of Jesus?
Let us pray:
Sweet Jesus, I thank you for the many graces you have given me. I pray you will continue to strengthen me and show me how to change my life to commit to being a true disciple. I desire to let you work in my life, to encounter your presence in others, and share the love you so freely give me. Amen.