Today’s gospel passage from Matthew is one of the most difficult to understand and a passage that often causes puzzlement and denial.
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.
Why would Jesus come to sow division within families? The answer is that Jesus did not desire that the gospel would cause families to be divided, but he knew that it would happen. Jesus testified to the truth and many people are unable to embrace the truth. His truth requires us to give ourselves away in love as he did, no matter what the consequences. To follow Jesus is to reject the world’s obsession with wealth, status and the exploitation of others. It is a counter-cultural message that creates divisions, even among family members.