The Gospel, according to Matthew (10:34-11:1)
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 In today’s Gospel, Jesus says; “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.” (Matthew 10:37–38) At first, this appears to be a difficult teaching of our Lord. But when properly understood, it helps us keep our relationships with God and with our family properly ordered in charity and truth. Following this command will never result in a lack of love for family; rather, it will help us to love solely with the heart of Christ. What does this teaching of Jesus require of us? Simply put, if a family member, or anyone else, imposes expectations on you or me that are contrary to the will of God, then we must choose the will of God over those other expectations. This would become especially difficult for us if those imposing the expectations become angry and criticizes us, with the claim that the we are being judgmental and are lacking in love. The thinking by those imposing their requests is; “we must love them more than God and His laws.” And if we do not support their misguided lifestyle, the relationship may be deeply wounded. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that Jesus followed this command by saying, “and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Love always involves the Cross. At times, it is a cross of personal self-sacrifice and self-giving. And at other times, it is a cross by which our love is misunderstood, and we are deemed as “unloving” by those we love the most. More and more, there are those who demand of us that we support them in behaviors that are objectively disordered and contrary to the will of God. We are told that if we oppose their choices or beliefs, then we are judgmental and hateful. But this is exactly what Jesus is speaking about. If we choose to “love” others more than God and His holy will, meaning, if our priority is to make people “feel” supported in the immoral and confused decisions they make, then we are not actually loving them at all. At least not with the love of God. Instead, we are prioritizing their sin over the truth they deeply need to know to be set free and to enter an authentic relationship of love with the God of Truth.
ACTION FOR THE DAY: Reflect, today, upon true love. Love is only true love when it is grounded and centered in God and every moral law He has set forth. Reflect upon your own relationships, especially with family and those closest to you. Do you love them with the pure love of God? Does your love remain firmly rooted in the will of God? Kindness, gentleness, and compassion must always be present. But moral truth must also be just as present and must be the foundation of every virtue we exercise in our relationships with everyone.