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Browsing Reflections Archive

July 11, 2022

Daily Reflection for Monday, July 11, 2022
 

Peace and Blessings, Friends, and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Monday’s readings at this link:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071122.cfm

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Isaiah 1:10-17
Responsorial: Psalm 50:8-9; 16BC-17, 21 and 23
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1

Our reflection on Monday’s readings:
“Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the earth.  I have come not to bring peace but the sword.”  Matthew 10:34

The opening passage in the Gospel today is very unsettling. Jesus says, “Do not think I have come bring peace upon the earth. I have come not to bring peace but the sword.”

How can this be? My Jesus? The Prince of Peace? Our savior who preached love, forgiveness, and justice for the poor brings a sword?  Swords divide.  In checking other Gospel accounts of this sermon, Luke (12:51) uses the word “division” rather than sword. 

Today’s first reading from Isaiah ties into the Gospel message. God is disgusted with his people. Their offerings and rituals are loathsome to him. He cannot bear their assemblies and their prayers he will not hear. Why? Because they do not follow his commandments. Their piety is not authentic, their rituals are simply rote actions. God and his son Jesus want authentic—from the heart—devotion and action.

We recently experienced an example of authentic loving action on Al’s birthday. Our 11-year-old granddaughter, while walking to a friend’s house, called Al’s cell phone. “Hi Grandpa! Happy birthday! I love you!”  Her action was authentic, out of love. It was not the obligatory family group call. No one told her she should call her grandpa on his birthday. She did it on her own, with joy in her voice and love in her heart. I imagine this is what Jesus wants of us.

In the Gospel, is Jesus warning his disciples of the human tendency to simply follow orthodox rules than to live Jesus’ teachings? It is easier and feels good to check off the boxes: Mass, Reconciliation, fasting, and giving time, talent, and treasure.

I believe this could be the sword of which Jesus speaks, the sword which divides us. When a Christian takes Jesus at his word and lives it, it can make people uncomfortable especially when that causes someone to differ from the status quo.

It is easy to say I am a Christian but not so easy to be a Christian.
 
Blessings to you,
Ruth Mytty

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