That latter part of today’s Gospel should come as quite a shock to them.
Do you think that I have come
to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you,
but rather division.
From now on
a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother…
What’s wrong with love and peace and feeling good?
Nothing, as long as they’re consistent with reality.
The prophet Jeremiah offers a great key for understanding this passage.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, 'Peace, peace,'
when there is no peace.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ offers us truth – true peace, true salvation, true morality, and true happiness – but that inevitably causes conflict in this broken and fallen world.
Too many people seek pabulum instead of substance, suppression instead of peace, warm feelings instead of true love, and instead of eternal reality they settle for convenience and aesthetics.
When Christ confronts them with the simple, life-giving truth, they feel threatened. The truth shakes the false structures around which they have entangled their minds and upon which they have built their lives. Sometimes, by the grace of God, the truth sets them free: they are able to extricate their minds and their lives and to enjoy the freedom of the children of God. Too often, however, they reject the truth and even make war against it and against those who hold to the truth.
We need to look within ourselves and see how we can more perfectly reflect the truth of Christ. Have we papered over areas in our hearts or in our lives that are not perfectly in accord with the truth of God in Christ?
We also need to do what we can to bring the truth of Christ to others. Of course, we should be as wise and prudent as we can in bring this truth, so that we may not cause undue hurt or pain, but neither can we be so afraid of conflict that we fail to bring truth and we settle for a "peace" that is false and deadly.
Be peaceful, be loving, but be real – be faithful and true to Christ.