Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”
I don’t know how and when it happened, but sometime in the ages, our Lord Jesus Christ, who chose hard work as a brawny carpenter and who instructed that “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36), became depicted as an effeminate whimp tossing rainbows and sprinkling fairy-dust, while spouting facile words of “peace” and “love”.
But the above passage from Luke 12 is a sober reminder that Jesus didn’t say following Him would be easy. Once you are committed to good, there can be no compromise with evil and with those who choose and support evil — even when they are your family and friends.
As St. Paul reminds us, we are part of a much larger war: “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12)
And though we may “grow weary and lose heart,” we must “persevere in running the race that lies before us” (Hebrews 12:3,1).
By ridding “ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us” and “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day and,
having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances,
hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.
And may the courage of St. Paul, and the strength and serenity and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you this glorious Sunday!