MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on Jesus’ divisiveness. Does God bring rejection from others upon us? Why? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time to find out. Please read Luke 12:49-53. #GreatPreaching #DriveByShooting #Sermons #Homilies
For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 8/18/2013 The 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 12.49-53.
Well, Jesus, tell us how you really feel!
Yet, who wants to hear this stuff? Who wants to hear that there will be division? I never bargained for this division stuff to begin with. I thought that being a Christian was about making my life easier and “abundant.” So, no thanks. I don’t want any of this “I come to bring division stuff.”
What Jesus says and our reaction to it should not be any surprise. As far back as 1998, American sociologist George Barna was surveying American attitudes that showed an aversion to such Jesus-thinking. Barna’s studies back then showed that 2 of 5 “born-again people denied the possibility that pain or suffering could be a means of becoming a better, more mature individual…3 of 10 Christians agreed that “nothing in life is more important than having fun and being happy.” 2 of 3 Christians expressed such love for money, possessions and “other material objects that their Christianity cannot be said to rule their hearts.”
What I want Jesus to say to me is this, “I have come to bring you a sense of confidence, Mark. I have come to bring people by the droves to hear you preach. I have come to make your children do whatever it is that you want them to do. I have come to give you lots of money, lots and lots of money. Wouldn’t that be great? All of us want to hear the pleasant things of life. We want to think that we can have it all. When someone tells us that we can’t have what we want, we usually get mad.
Every politician we know has learned from the “Carter Rule” of politics. In the late 1970s, then President Jimmy Carter said that the country was in a malaise. He was saying that we didn’t want to work hard and save our money. We wanted to have things come to us easily and spend it all on enjoyment. His honest assessment was ridiculed and the result was that he lost the election. In the decades that followed, we had one politician after another tell us that we could have the same services from Government without having to pay for them. It has resulted in massive budget deficits and a coldness of heart in which we would rather cut programs to the poor than have taxes raised. My point is that we don’t want to pay the price or endure any price, it seems.
So, in this climate, what do you imagine Jesus is telling us in this passage? He is telling us what we do not want to hear. He is saying that we must make a choice. We cannot have what we want. We must choose. We must choose to follow Christ and go on to eternal life, which is exactly what his coming means, or we must choose to ignore the prophecy of God being worked out through him. To choose to ignore God is not a very good prospect. Even those who have never been to church know exactly what will happen if they choose to ignore God.
People get mad because when we follow the Lord, we no longer get to choose where we will be and what we will do on Sunday mornings. People get mad because when we follow the Lord we no longer get to use our bodies in any fashion we want. People get mad because when we follow the Lord we no longer can spend our money on whatever we want. It limits our individual choice.
This seems to be a riddle to us. It is a riddle because we seem to think that when Jesus “blesses us” that means that we will receive something we like. Yet, think about that.
There was a young man who lived in a rough part of town. He hated his mother because she wanted him in the house at 10:00 pm every night. He hated her, that is until the boys he used to hang with were killed at 11:00 pm in a drive by shooting.
When we looked at following Christ before we knew what that meant, we thought it meant following rules. Then, when we first became committed to the calling we were given in our baptism as infants we realized that leading a devoted life is done out of our love for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
When our commitment to how Christ cleansed us from our sins in baptism was fresh we thought there would never be a care in the world. We were saved, what did we have to be worried about? Then we realized that being committed to our calling meant that our life was going to be changed. It meant that our example we try to live out causes others to see that they are different from those who are in love with the Lord. This “being different” is hated because it makes others make a choice.
On time, a friend of mine, who was in a church, trying to love the people through a hard lesson from God, said to his wife as they walked through the grocery store, “Why do they hate me so much when I love them so much?” His wife replied, “They don’t hate you, honey, they hate God.”
You will be disliked and hated for taking a stand for Christ. It will happen. But if you can stop and not take it personally, you will see that what is happening is exactly what Christ said would happen. It is a compliment that tells you your life is making people face the fact that they need to be faithful to Christ. In fact, if our Christian life doesn’t bring at least a little controversy, maybe we should wonder if we are actually being true to our calling.
There was a man who testified to God and God’s righteousness in an England town called Wednesbury in the 1700s. He was roughed up and chased out of town by a mob who wanted to tar and feather him. As he was nursing his wounds, which included a broken nose, he remarked that his pain “was a sure sign of God’s providence.”
Where are the sure signs of God’s providence in your life? Where are the painful wounds of holiness that have caused others to reject you? Where is it that you should probably take a stand now? Whatever it is, you know this is going to hurt, but you must take a stand because of your faith, because of your love for Jesus Christ. “for henceforth in one house there will be fived divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Amen? Amen.
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