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Mother-In-Law Troubles? ... Jesus Told You So.

Gospel Reflection for Sunday, August 14, 2022

GOSPEL: LUKE 12:49-53

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

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; 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, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

When you and your mother-in-law are at odds, just remember – you’re living out the Gospel! All jokes aside, how do we make sense of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, telling us that He did not come to establish peace on earth?

Is this the same Jesus who also said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (John 14:27)? The same Jesus who told us, “my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:30) is also telling us to expect to encounter division even within our families when we take up His yoke. Division within our families is quite a burden, Jesus!!

Have you ever questioned your commitment to Jesus in difficult times thinking, “Jesus, didn’t you tell us that if we go to church and say our prayers that our lives would be easy, we would filled with constant joy, and that doing the right thing would always feel good?” I’ve been looking for that Bible verse too… I swear I heard it at least once.

However, as many Catholics come to expect when we ask a question like, “is it this or that?”, the answer is often – it’s both! So, did Jesus come to bring us peace and unburden us? Or, did Jesus come to bring division? Both.

Embracing the gospel necessarily changes how we relate to our world and to one another. Jesus isn’t telling us that we have to choose between loving God and loving our families. What He is telling us is that we will be asked to make choices that go against the norm, and those choices are inherently divisive.

Today’s Gospel is uncomfortable to hear because the reality of the moments of division that we should expect to encounter are uncomfortable.

When we face these challenging situations in which choosing to love the Lord is a cause of division rather than peace, let us recall the prayer of the Psalmist that we pray at Mass today – Lord, come to my aid!




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