12th July 2021
Exodus 1:8-14, 22
Psalms 124:1-3, 4-6, 7-8
EMBRACING ALL WITH LOVE
Life is a series of problems; either you are in one now or you are just coming out of one or you are getting ready to go into another one. What is important is to create peace with yourself and others, living every moment at a time while seeking God’s guidance and assistance.
Today we begin reading from the Book of Exodus which continues where we finished in the Book of Genesis last week. Many years have now passed in Egypt since the death of Joseph and his brothers and a new Pharaoh comes to power who knows nothing of the history of the Israelites in Egypt. He therefore orders the Israelites be enslaved and begins killing their sons out of fear that they may not be as loyal as he would like. He refers to suffering and conflict that can arise in the course of our lives. The sword of division is raised for freedom in the Book of Exodus and by family disputes according to Jesus’ words.
Our Gospel passage today from Matthew seems at first a little odd because Jesus tells his disciples that he did not come to bring peace but the sword. We know from bitter experience that this is correct for there are many places in the world where long and bloody battles have been fought because of religion and because of different views within Christianity, even within our own country. But Christ tells us that we should welcome all people regardless of their religious beliefs because, if we welcome those who are holy and help those who come to us, then we will bring peace to our world and the Gospel of Christ will spread throughout the world.
Jesus told His apostles about finding and losing life. It should be interpreted with His nuance, “for my sake.” Jesus had taught His apostles of Himself as being the truth, the way, and the life. Hence, Jesus gives the message that life is not only living but being with the Lord.
As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, we will be subject to the sufferings and challenges Jesus faced; persecution, suffering, rejection, and death. We expect the same. Jesus calls us to embrace them out of our faith and love in Him.
Disagreements about religion can stir trouble in families. What the Lord gives is not “peace at any price”, but a special kind of peace that comes from staying close to Jesus. If there is discord within our family, let it be for the sake of personal conscience and not from any dominating or judgmental spirit. We are therefore called to be sincere, not authoritarian.
The heart of today’s readings is to keep God always at the center of our lives and not crowd him out with concerns about all the things going on in the world that bother us. When God is the center, everything else will follow, including our relationships with our families and friends, and our prayer life will continue to grow. If we can keep our focus on Jesus each day, then we will surely not lose our Heavenly Reward.
Basically, Jesus wants us to be welcoming people, thankful for what others may offer us. Even such a simple gift as a cup of cold water will be noted to one’s credit, in the book of life.
May God help us to be able to embrace all people with love.