These are trying days of divided loyalties, political rancor and even dissension in our Church. So many people are simply opting out of watching the news and distancing themselves from social media. The harsh language we use when lashing out at people with whom we disagree is deeply troubling. Followers of Jesus say horrible things, both in person and in the various expressions in social media. On top of all of this, we are dealing with a pandemic that has only added to the divisions.
Jesus was not one to parse words, for he makes it crystal clear in the gospel today that living the gospel will be the cause of much pain and disharmony. Even within families there will be separation and estrangement, as children turn against parents and parents turn away from children. Not a pretty picture, but the stark truth.
If you’re living the gospel, truly living out the teachings of Jesus, you are going to pay a price. The cost of discipleship is steep. If we compartmentalize our faith, we will not feel much of anything but apathy. Our lives will be seemingly comfortable and bland. It means traveling down the easy road of minimal self sacrifice, of peace at all costs, which means a denial of conflict. It’s so easy to just shield ourselves from the problems of the world, isolating ourselves from suffering.
But Jesus is clearly sending us INTO the world with all of its problems as “sheep among the wolves,” not very assuring for those of us who refrain from watching the news, so that the many problems of the world will not disturb our inner tranquility. God forbid!! Once we accept the challenge and fully realize that following the gospel is going to exact a price, a steep one at that, our lives will be rooted in the Kingdom; we will have discovered the “pearl of great price, for which every form of sacrifice and suffering is worth every bit of the struggle.