Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church
(Exodus 1: 8-14.22; Matthew 10:34-11:1)
A man tells the story of his daughter. When she was a teenager, she became pregnant outside marriage. She wanted to have her baby, but her mother encouraged her to have an abortion. For the elder, the girl was not only too young to be a mother but also needed to finish her education. The girl desperately turned to her father who was divorced from his wife. The man believed in his daughter and promised to help her keep her baby. Relieved, the girl said that she had bought a bus ticket to another town in case no one would support her at home. Whether she knows it or not, this girl is following Jesus’ instructions to his apostles in today’s gospel.
It is not that Jesus has abortion in mind as he lectures his apostles. Rather, he knows that his righteousness will always unleash opposition. His insistence that divorce opposes the Creator’s original intention will cause a furor among those who favor a more lenient standard. His reaching out to the grubby poor will scandalize those with a high sense of propriety. In these ways Jesus forces people to choose. Will they stand with him or conform to the defective ways of their family.
We may not have to choose between family and Jesus. We may not have to choose between family and Jesus. Our choice may be between Jesus and the urgings of the heart. Will we follow our sexual impulses or will we resist sinful sexual desires? Will we support organizations that assist the homeless or perhaps help them ourselves? Or will we totally ignore those who roam the streets? Facing issues like these, we realize that Jesus does not bring the peace of mind that we may desire.