Gospel Luke 12:49-53

“Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth?”

The reading before us is a challenging one. The most common portrayal of Jesus in our day is that of an affable, do-gooder, the buddy-Christ, the kind of Jesus that would never offend and never upset anyone. But is this an authentic picture of how Jesus was/is?

If he was so pleasant as to never get on anyone’s nerves, then why on earth did they crucify him?!

In the episode recounted in today’s Gospel, we see a man who is polarising. His mere presence poses a significant question – a question the answer to which continues to be a source of discord.

He wants to shake us out of a faux peace, a numbness that we so easily lull ourselves into, and present us with a stark picture of reality – A reality that is marked by love.

It is here where we find ourselves thrown off balance. The love that is the ground of reality is not a soppy, romantic, voluntaristic love, but a love that imposes an order on the cosmos, which asks something of us.

Jesus does not want us to remain ‘at peace’ here, as this is not our home – we are made for so much more.

The discomfort and discord that Jesus wishes us to experience is directed to an end. He is seeking to shake us out of our numbed existence and to embrace reality in full. He wants for us to live in the fullness of trust and love, to live life intensely.

Point to Ponder

Faith is recognizing that God made flesh is present in the world, in the history of the world.

Luigi Giussani, Is It Possible to Live This Way? p.54)