For the last three weeks, we’ve been reading daily from the Gospel of Luke, and today we find ourselves smack dab in the middle – in chapter 12.
Have you experienced times in your life when you’ve been smack dab in the middle, and it feels very uncomfortable? Not quite enough room on the couch. Not quite enough understanding between friends or relatives. Not quite sure what to say or do. These words from Jesus engender that same uneasy feeling in me:
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. (Lk 12:51-53)
I believe most Christians at some point in their lives have lived this verse. I know I have.
We desire peace and understanding. We want all those around us to love Jesus and the Father. We want to be accepted for our beliefs or at least politely tolerated, but often we receive scorn and mockery. How many women do you know, and perhaps even yourself, who receive uninvited, ignorant comments when another baby is on the way, especially in an already “large” family? How many do we know who are shunned for speaking up for traditional marriage or the unborn? How many young people are derided for going to Church?
Often the hardest time to accept such reproach is when it comes from our own family. It hurts in a way like no other hurt. Those closest to us can wound us most deeply. But, you know… Jesus told us this would happen.
I believe that in times like these we intimately and particularly share in the heart of God.
God, the creator of the universe, our Father, who gives us everything, experiences the same. His truth is mocked and despised. His children disobey and turn away. His fatherhood is rejected, and his love refused.
Just before His Passion, Jesus prays, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (Jn 17:11) Jesus desires that unity, just as we do. He prays, just as we do. His suffering follows his prayer, just as it does for us. When we are so hurt by derision, or our hearts are broken by those we love who walk away from God – our children, our brothers, our sisters, our parents – we share just a tiny piece of the broken heart of Jesus.
It is precisely in these times that we must graft ourselves to the vine and cling to Jesus, with the visceral prayer of surrender, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Anne