Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ephesians 3:14-21; Luke 12:49-53)
Jesus sounds frightening in this gospel passage. He speaks of setting the world on fire and dividing families. We should note, however, that by this point in the narrative Jesus has set his sights on Jerusalem which gives everything he says particular urgency.
Although it may seem disrespectful, we may not always endorse and sometimes should oppose the values and habits of our families. Becoming disciples of Jesus means giving our first and greatest loyalty to God. A song from the musical “South Pacific” tells of being taught to “hate all the peoples your relatives hate.” Such prejudice needs to be rejected. Most of us, mercifully, have grown up in families which instilled a love of both God and neighbor. However, no family is perfect. Graced by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we should cast off the elements of imperfection in our particular family. If this means disownment, there remains for us the more important company of Jesus.