Exodus 1:8-14, 22
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Matthew 10:34 - 11:1
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the 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,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
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 the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.
The psalm says “the Lord who was on our side…” People often say that division is a sign of the devil. It is true that there should be unity in the body of Christ, and that a divided community could be a sign of the working of the devil within it. But we can find a surprising amount of unity in the working of our enemies and a lot of disunity or co-mingling of worldviews creeping into our catechism teachings. Today’s readings show us that division and the sword, are signs of the Lord. Division is a sign of the conflict between good and evil, light and dark.
Holiness means that we are set apart and that we have nothing to do with the works of darkness. The Lord tells us plainly that there will be the dividing line between the believers and the unbelievers. Like the sheep and the goats at the end of time, there are those who follow the Lord and obey his Will and there are those who go their own way obeying the flesh, the devil, and the spirit of the world.
As far as division in the Church, we have endured this in the past and are enduring it now. In such a time, we look to these scriptures and recognize that there is a hierarchy or order of love loyalties. Our relationship with God must come first. Then, we must continue to support the man of God or people of God in their need. We need to know what side we are on and who our family really is. We can be more of a united family with those members of the Church who believe than with our own blood ties.
When the Lord gives us a sword, it is good for separating what is holy from what is not holy and it is a tool for cutting away truth from lies, discerning thoughts and the intentions of our hearts.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to take up my cross and bear witness to You in the fullness of the revelation of your Divine Son, Jesus. May I always remember that you are with me and strengthening me. I ask you to draw all the members of my natural born family to You and for the grace to accept the family of believers as my spiritual family. I ask you to end all divisions in Your body the Church and help her to stand as a light in the darkness surrounding her. Amen.