TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (August 14, 2016)
Jer 38:4-6, 8-10/Heb 12:1-4/Lk 12:49-53
Jesus’ coming to earth is of three parts. The first happened 2,000 years ago when He came as a Savior, proclaiming the good news of salvation and offering His life for our sake and for our salvation. The second coming will occur in the end of times, when He will come as a Judge, separating the good men from evil men. The third happens in between these two comings when Jesus comes to us both sacramentally and spiritually. He comes to us through the sacraments of the Church most especially through the Holy Eucharist. He comes to us spiritually through group prayer, reading the gospel, and helping the poor. This third coming is instrumental for the second coming since it determines what will happen to the people in the second coming of Christ.
The gospel tells us of the second coming of Jesus. When Jesus comes the second time around, He will come to bring not compassion but justice, not mercy but righteousness, and not unity but division. This division is actually happening already in our present time. Faith in Jesus sometimes brings division not only in the family but even in the community and in countries. There are times when in a pagan or Muslim family, a conversion to Christianity of a member can cause division within the family as members of the family may reject the Christian convert. This can even happen within a Christian family when a member of a family is converted to a different Christian faith, maybe from Protestantism to Catholicism or vice versa. A converted member is usually rejected by other members of the family. It can also happen within a community when an individual person or one whole family is converted into Christian faith and the whole community rejects the said person or family. It also happens among countries when one country wages religious war against others like what happened in the past especially during middle Ages.
Indeed, to follow Christ can mean a lot of sacrifices including the sacrifice of a family, community or nation. This is because Jesus demands that we make God our priority. He says: Love God with all your heart, with your entire mind, with all your strength and with all your being and love your neighbor as you love yourself. He also says: Seek first the kingdom of Heaven and all shall be added unto you. In another instance He says: anyone who loves his mother or father more than he loves me is not worthy of me. Jesus then demands that we love Him more than we love anybody. Christ, being God, has the right to demand that we make Him our first priority in terms of love. This means that our loyalty to Christ must take precedence over our dearest loyalties here on earth. When we do this, this can certainly lead towards division within the family and others.
That Jesus’ coming can cause division is not something to be afraid of. What we must fear is to be separated from Him and not from others. This is because only Jesus, our Lord and God, is the fullness of our life. We were made through Him and for Him so much so that St. Agustin said: My heart is not at rest until it rests in you, my God. Let us then strive hard to be always faithful to Jesus that we may acquire the fullness of life not only here on earth but most especially in the second life.