Jesus reveals His Gospel will cause division in families as some choose to accept or deny Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Sacrifice so he can prepare to faithfully receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist and by pursing the Virtue of Fraternity so he can build bonds of brotherhood with his parish priest and deacon.
13th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 10:37-42
Concluding His Missionary Sermon (Mt 10), Jesus reveals the truth that He has not come to bring peace, but to “bring a sword”, an allusion to the division and conflict that will occur, even in families, as each person chooses to accept or reject Jesus (v 34-36 omitted from the reading).
The Mediterranean and Jewish culture has always highly valued family honor and bonds. Jesus’ emphatic revelation that disciples must be willing to be rejected by family for the sake of the Gospel is startling; He reveals that those who love family members more than Him, including even parents and children, are “not worthy of Me.” Jesus reveals the shocking truth that men who are not willing to be martyred for Him by being willing to accept the humiliation and horror of crucifixion, to take up one’s cross, are not worthy of Him; Jesus confirms that those who are martyred for His sake will be rewarded with eternal life.
Besides the blessing of receiving Jesus and the Father, those who take the simple act of accepting and supporting the disciples in their missionary work receive an incredible reward; those who receive a disciple can be blessed with the same reward as a prophet or righteous man. Jesus reveals that even small acts of kindness to a disciple, such as giving a disciple a cup of water specifically because he is a disciple of Jesus, will result in incredible rewards.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Soberly consider the astounding level of commitment that Jesus, the Divine King, requires of His disciples: He comes with the specific objective to force men to choose to accept or reject Him (bring a sword); He invokes Vindication, a part of Justice in which rewards and punishments are rendered, whereby Jesus will Judge men as worthy and unworthy based on their choice to accept Him or not; He requires men to have a commitment to Him above all else, above family and even above a man’s own life; He promises just rewards for the worthy, who will gain eternal life, and for the unworthy, who will lose eternal life.
Sacrifice to prepare to receive the Eucharist
Realize: Despite Jesus’ sacrifice of His life to provide the Eucharist and His very high expectations of sacrifice by those who wish to be His disciples, many Catholics do not make even the small sacrifices to properly prepare for Mass (Confession, fasting, respectful clothing, reading of the Liturgy before Mass) or fail to attend every obligatory Sunday Mass.
Believe: Reflect upon the call to Carry One’s Cross (CCC 1435, 1460, 1816, 2015, 2029, 2427).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Sacrifice (a part of Justice) so I am moved to sacrifice for Your sake, especially in the just and proper preparation for the sacrifice of Your Son in the Mass.
Build fraternity with Christ’s priests and deacons
Realize: Being a Catholic priest or deacon is difficult: Catholicism is ridiculed as being “out of step” with the new morality; priests are stigmatized due to the priest sex abuse scandals; many priests and deacons are stretched thin and lack fraternity due to the drop in vocations. Like Jesus commands men to support the Apostles, so too must Catholic men support His priests and deacons today.
Believe: Reflect upon the Catholic Priesthood (CCC 1548-1553, 1562-1568) and the Order of Deacons (CCC 1536-1554, 1569-1600).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Fraternity (a part of Justice) so I befriend, support and generously spend time with the men You have called to Your Holy Catholic priesthood and diaconate.