Gospel: Mt 10:34–11:1
Do not think that I have come to establish peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Each one will have as enemies, those of one’s own family.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life, for my sake, will find it.
Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes him who sent me. The one who welcomes a prophet, as a prophet, will receive the reward of a prophet; the one who welcomes a just man, because he is a just man, will receive the reward of a just man. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is my disciple, I assure you, he will not go unrewarded.“
When Jesus had finished giving his twelve disciples these instructions, he went on from there, to teach and to proclaim his message in their towns.
There is no room for compromise in following Jesus.
The Gospel reading reminds me of a distant relative who was disowned by her family because she decided to become a Catholic. Her parents, siblings and other relatives tried their best to dissuade her but she remained firm in her decision to be baptized in the Catholic faith. A few years later, she decided to enter the convent and became a religious sister. This really infuriated her parents that they stripped her of the inheritance due her. This, however, did not discourage her from pursuing her religious vocation.
Those who commit themselves to Jesus and His mission are expected to make Him and his Kingdom the first priority. All others are secondary. Their relationship with God is the foundation of all other relationships. This is best exemplified by David’s close friend Jonathan, son of King Saul. Because of envy and jealousy, Saul hated David and wanted him eliminated. One day Saul ordered his son to betray David but Jonathan refused. He followed his conscience, the “voice of God,“ rather than his own father. Our loyalty to family ends where loyalty to Christ begins. St. Peter said it so well, “We must obey God rather than men.“