Sunday, August 14, 2016

Division and peace (Sunday homily)

(Sorry it took me awhile to post this. I had incomplete notes, and I just didn't get around to posting them. I think I'm leaving things out, that weren't written down. This is what I can reconstruct from my notes. I actually posted this 8/25, but I'm back-dating it for the Sunday it corresponds to.)

In the readings, Jesus talks about both division and peace. So I'll talk about division first, then peace.

Jesus brings division, not because it's what he wants, but because the truth divides: between those who accept it, and those who do not. Our world is divided over truth. It has always been thus, especially over who Jesus is. There has always been resistance to him. So, understand: facing opposition because you are a Christian is normal! I repeat: it's the normal state for a Christian. So: if you haven't experienced any, why might that be?

In our time, you and I face an unusual situation. In times past, the division was over doctrine: who Jesus is, whether God is a trinity, over the Eucharist, or the priesthood, and so forth. But in our time, the battle lines are over objective truth, the truth of who humanity is: male and female, and male made for female and vice-versa.

That a male is male, and a female is female, not as a social construct but as a biological fact, isn't a dogma -- it's objective truth. And now, for me to state that, is deemed bigotry. It's important for you and me to realize what we're up against. 

I realize we don't like having this discussion, and you're right to dislike it, but there's no avoiding it. This is Jesus' point: "don't think I'm bringing peace..." as in, no conflict.

You and I are those people described in the second reading. This world isn't our home, our destination. We are bound for a city where Christ is king. So, may I suggest that we avoid being drawn into conflicts over things that don't matter for eternity? Whether politics, or sports, or whatever? The only really good reason to ever be in conflict, is over faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus does, indeed, bring peace: but only when he is Lord -- over every heart and every nation. So, if you want that peace, start surrendering your own heart to him.

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