“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I imagine Jesus looking directly at me when he asks “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?” I can tell by the fervor in his eyes that this is not a rhetorical question. He expects an answer.
“Um . . . yes?” I answer hesitantly. “Isn’t that kind of your thing?”
“No, I tell you,” he shouts, “but rather division!”
I’m taken aback. “What gives, Lord?”
What gives is that the kind of peace at the heart of Jesus’ mission is not a superficial one where we all agree to disagree so that we can avoid conflict. That isn’t peace; that’s just a cease fire.
No, the kind of peace Jesus brings is the peace that makes us all of one mind and one heart—that of Christ’s. That kind of peace can only be found in union with him.
—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, that is
make me one with you
so that I may be one with others. Amen.