Not Peace, but a Sword
Reflection on the Gospel of the Monday
Of The Fifteenth Week In Ordinary Time
Jesus is teaching his twelve apostles his mission to come on earth and when one decides to accept to follow Jesus, it was not necessary that the full family will follow.
Jesus brought a revolution in the world. He said that his Father, God Almighty was the father of all mankind and all could worship Him is spirit and many more things, like eating and doing miracles on Sabbath day, eating without washing hands the customary way which did not go well with Jews, especially the leaders, but at the same time many Jews and even gentiles who understood the teachings of Jesus rebelled from their own people and became disciples of Jesus. What he meant by saying that one who loves his own is not worthy of me, is that out of fear that their father, mother, son or daughter will severe relations with them when they know that they follow Jesus, decide to continue in their own traditions are not worthy of being called his followers.
The sword that Jesus was talking is not to create trouble amongst his own, but the regrettable side effect of tension and division resulting from the uncompromising proclamation of the kingdom. Mathew referred it to the fraternal struggle between the members of his community. The struggle is not a goal in itself but a certain consequence of the absolute commitment Jesus demands from the disciples. As he was talking this to his apostles, most likely he was calling for radical discipleship which implied celibacy. This demand was necessitated by the urgent priority of the Kingdom of God.
Next Jesus speaks of the rewards to the disciples, the who accepts them and their teachings. He said even a cup of water offered by the disciples will not go in waste, he/she shall be rewarded by him and his Father and imagine if one would provide water to the whole town or village what more reward would he get.
The little children referred could be the disciples/apostles and even the uneducated followers of Jesus.
The passage ends with Jesus going out to preach to others. This shows the urgency to reach out to as many as he can before he leaves the earth. He did practice what he preached.
Jesus, help us to understand your mission and my purpose in my life, guide me to do your work for your Kingdom and give priority to you than to the chores of life.