|Father Perry D. Leiker|
Jesus declares: “I have come to set the earth on fire.” Not only that, he further says that he has come, not to establish peace, but division. Bluntly he interprets his own words with a specific application: “From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.”
What has happened to our man of peace? The “fire” he speaks of is of biblical making — it stands for God, his Spirit, his power and his presence that transforms and ignites and purifies making all things new. The division comes as a result of poor priorities.
God first! Then, everything else! This is how he declares it must be. What idolatry for anything, including family relationships, to come before God. But isn’t that just too much? Do I have to choose between family and God? The truth is we choose many things over family all of the time: giving more time to friends than family; we communicate best at work, not home; our money, or desire for it, often comes before our family’s priorities; and some families are forever divided or destroyed over issues of money or inheritances.
So although Jesus calls for total dedication and commitment and discipleship to him and to his word, it isn’t such a bad deal. In fact, true discipleship should lead us to the peace that really is his gift to us.
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email email@example.com.