The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D. Aclan)
The Gospel reading today speaks of division. A division brought no other than by our Lord Jesus Christ. A man against his father and daughter against her mother – this for sure is contrary to the image of Christ that we know. We know Him as compassionate, merciful, kind and loving. We know Him as a shepherd, the One who gathers rather than divides.
In reflecting on this Gospel passage, my attention was brought to the succeeding lines where our Lord Jesus narrates what it is to be His disciple. And that is a total surrender and following of Him. One must be ready to leave everything behind, everything that he treasures and values even his loved ones.
As I progress in my seminary formation, I realize how divided I am in responding to His call of discipleship. I am still holding on to some of my old values and way of life that hinder me to surrender my whole self to Him in response to His call. Thus, I believe that this Gospel passage does not speak of disrespect or contempt to my family but rather a reminder for me to be faithful in responding to His call of discipleship.
Oftentimes, I found myself divided between my faithfulness to Him and to my own desire for a life that is generously being offered by the world; a life of comfort, self-gratification and independence to do whatever I want to do to pursue my worldly desires.
Jesus wants me to be finally separated from whatever attachments in my life that in one way or another caused me to be separated from Him. He wants me to be united with Him as His disciple and do the mission that He appointed me to do.
Hence, He is still the shepherd that we know, the One who gathers us in Him, so that He can show us His compassion, mercy, kindness and love.