Well, once again Jesus challenges our liking for the “status quo.” We might think we are happy with our possessions, with our desire for more of them and with our current way of relating to our “neighbours” and to God. Our “attachments” come in many forms, but they always divert us from becoming the “fully human” person that reflects God’s image. Jesus knew this, and always challenged his generation – and ours – to take another look in the mirror. You can listen to his message with two different pairs of ears: one pair hears Bad News, the other hears Good News. Division occurs only because of our response to Jesus.
You know the drill, especially in this special year of Mercy, forgive everyone 70x7 times; assist those in need like a Good Samaritan; seek first the kingdom of God; pray as if you meant it; become detached from all that comes between you and God (and neighbour). In modern language it means stop being a crook; stop hoarding and accumulating; tear down those “fences” that keep others out of your heart; love everyone, even that Samaritan; admit guilt and seek forgiveness; and so on.
No one likes to hear what they think is “bad news.” Anything which changes the status quo is usually seen that way, because we find “comfort” in the familiar. Even so, Jesus teaches us that a lot of our lifestyle is all “fake” or phony comfort. The only thing that matters is the total giving of self – surrender to God’ will, and generosity towards neighbour. That is the Good News, the message that is “disruptive,” in the sense that it divides those who hear and accept the challenge to follow the way of Jesus, and those who reject both the message and the messenger. Modern examples are the abortion and euthanasia issues, which have divided many countries on the basic issue of the God-given right to live.
We are all called to be a “Jeremiah” (First Reading) and speak out against the falsehoods that surround us. Yes, you will probably be persecuted for speaking the truth with love (Eph 4:15) but following the will of God leads to the greatest reward of all: eternity with Him!
“Faith” is not a bystander sport; it calls for discipleship in the full sense of the word, an active participation in the life of the Church plus full adherence to the teachings of the Pope and Bishops. Beware of new forms of idolatry, when one honours or reveres ancestors, power, money, politics and other things more than God.