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Doctrines & Morals

Do not think that I bring peace to the earth

Ish 1:10-17, Mt. 10:34-11:1. Today's first reading points to the internal oppression within Israel, not caused as in the past by the Egyptians, but by fellow-Jews. The Lord questions the loyalty of the Israelites to His law especially love of neighbour. It is very hard to separate the love of God from the love of neighbour. These in a way complement each other. For there is no way we can pretend to love God when we hate our neighbours. There is no way we can be offering to the Lord lots of money and sacrifices yet those around us are going hungry. The anger of the Lord blazes out in such hypocrisy: “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them...even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”

The “hands full of blood” refers to the judges' “Guilty” verdict in court. However, the divine judge gives another chance; instead of sentencing the guilty party to death, Israel is granted a reprieve, provided that they make justice their aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Unless our religion turns towards social justice, God turns His hand against us and refines our dross in the furnace” (Ish 1:25). What God desires is peace with justice, compassion and human dignity. In today's Gospel, Jesus affirms that true peace is not peace at any price, but a peace that is compatible with our faith in Jesus. We are challenged to take the cross of loneliness or separation, instead of compromising the Gospel value because of our desire for peace at all cost. Such peace that comes from conformity to vices is what Jesus refers to: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." Though, we are called to be compassionate to others, we must be firm in our faith and seek justice even when we meet with opposition and threats to our family ties.

May the Lord keep us safe and bring us true peace in our effort to keep our relationship! Amen!! Remain safe and have a productive week!!!

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