THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
As followers of Jesus, we may be tempted to believe that we should never be involved in conflict or disagreements. The call to be people of love and grace can feel like a call to just be nice to everyone. But, in this week’s readings, we hear a very different message. The Scriptures celebrate our ancestors in the faith, noting that many of them stood against the injustices of their day – even to death. This Sunday you may have read a prophecy from Jeremiah in which he denounced false prophets who proclaimed comforting lies to God’s people and refused to confront the ways they were betraying God’s justice and peace. Or you may have read the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus declared that he would bring division among people because some would be willing to discern the true nature of the times in which they were living, and others would not. The challenge we must accept as Christ-followers, is not whether we will face conflict or not, but rather what the reasons will be for the conflicts we face. This calls for discernment, courage, and wisdom.
It is never easy to have hard conversations with friends, family, or neighbours about what brings injustice into the world. It can be painful to confront racism, materialism, patriarchy, or power games in our lives and world. Often, when we do try to address these difficult issues, we may be scapegoated, rejected, or persecuted. But we cannot remain silent in the face of injustices small or big if we are to follow Jesus faithfully. Rather, if we are to live the Gospel, we must be willing to do the difficult work, and to embrace the pain, of discerning what’s really going on in our lives and our world, confronting the injustice in our own hearts, and then challenging it in our small corner of the world.
This is the tough call of this week – to endure conflict and division for the sake of the Gospel’s saving, liberating values and purposes, while discerning the “signs of the times”.
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