If there is one thing that Jesus always taught, it is about peace. He told his listeners if you’re going to make an offering and you and your brother are not on good terms, leave the offering first and settle with your brother first. He also said, instead of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, turn the other cheek. In the beatitudes, he also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Hence, one of the Gospel readings seems to be uncharacteristic of Jesus. Why does he talk about parents fighting their children, daughter-in-law versus mother in law, and enemies within the household?
In the colorful speech of Christ, he wanted to emphasize a very important message: Put God First. Three reasons:
- While family is very important, if God is not the center, it will eventually go separate ways. While we do have different personalities, different characters, different viewpoints, and different vocations, it is very important that all these come from God. If God is the center, His teachings should become priority.
- While family is very important, as in all relationships, we will eventually have to say “goodbye.” Each life has a unique journey. In this journey, people come in and out of our lives, but the only constant is God.
- While the family is very important, it is one of the most persecuted institutions. Why? If one destroys the family, the most basic social unit, one destroys the Church and the country. Look at the challenges families go through: Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, and Homosexual Marriage. Hence the importance of God’s guidance.
In every Mass, we pray that we put God first in our families. How accurate and timely are the words of Fr. Patrick Payton: “The family that prays together, stays together.”