St Matthew 10:34-11:1
Although Jesus is the prince of peace, His sword, that is, the word of God will at times create division between those who accept His word and those who resist His word. We may at times have to make tough choices between our loyalty to God and our other natural loyalties. God has to be our top priority which may cause tensions even within our own close family relationships.
The cross was a symbol of shame and rejection, a punishment imposed by the Romans for law breakers. Jesus transforms the cross into the glory of Christian martyrdom and it is through the cross that we are saved and healed. Therefore, the cross becomes for us as Christians not an end in itself but the means that make us worthy of the name of Christian and an authentic follower of Christ. We go where Jesus has gone and we will at times have to pick up our own versions of the cross through our own self -denial, sacrifices and suffering.
Jesus reminds us that “anyone who finds his life will lose it and anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it”. This is the reversal of worldly wisdom which tells us to grab everything this human life offers and yet Jesus’s wisdom says that self-denial brings us true and eternal life. This wisdom of God is seen in Jesus’s acceptance of His cross which leads to the Resurrection and will be seen also by those who had everything of this world but forfeit eternal life.
St. Alphonsus Ligouri (1696-1787)
“Is not he a fool who seeks after happiness in this world, where he will remain only a few days and exposes himself to the risk of being unhappy in the next, where we must live for eternity? We do not fix our affections on borrowed goods, because we know that they must soon be returned to the owner. All the goods of this earth are lent to us”