Sunday, August 18, 2013

Parents against children

Luke 12:49 - 53

In these troubled times, we often refer to the divine origin of the family.  Heck, we even sometimes mention the commandment to honor our parents.  

But in Luke 12: 49-53 the Lord says:

“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.”

What is envisaged?

The saying envisages a family of five living together: a father and mother, the son and his wife, and the daughter.  (The daughter is single, because otherwise she’d be living with her husband’s family.)  

It's interesting that the division is generational, with the two parents set against the three younger people, which reminds us of the cryptic promise in Malachy 4:6, “And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema” (Douay-Rheims).  

And the point?  

The point is, of course, that if our family tries to hold us back from following Christ, then there has to be a parting of the ways. 

It may be simply leaving the living room to avoid an objectionable TV program that the folks are watching.  It may even involve having to leave home if we're kicked out for having joined the Church (and, yes, this does happen sometimes).   

Christian witness can provoke all sorts of bitter and recurring comments. But the thing is that the calls of the Gospel are paramount and override any anything else, no matter how deserving.  The most important thing about us is that we're washed in the blood of the Lamb and are now part of the family composed of God’s adopted sons and daughters.