Monday, July 12, 2010

Rough readings

Today's first reading, psalm and Gospel put together a pretty powerful package. It's something like a Lenten call to conversion come out of season. God complains about the sacrifices He Himself called for, and says they're worthless. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, asks rhetorically if we think he had come to bring peace to the earth, and proceeds to tell us that he actually brought a sword. You can almost hear it slice through the air as he says, "The one who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; the one who will not take up his cross...the one who 'finds' himself..."
I almost want to ask, like the disciples after the teaching about how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom, "Then who, Lord, can be saved?"
Jesus isn't issuing empty threats; he's calling for a decision. That's what the sword is: you can't dance on that thin edge, you can only pick a side. And Jesus is saying, "Make that decision! Don't put the most important relationship in your life on indefinite hold!" While Isaiah is saying, in God's name, "Don't live it halfway, either!"

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