August 14 – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sometimes I fall into my autopilot responses.  When I am in conversation with my family such as my parents, sister, aunts and uncles, I can find myself ending our conversations with “Okay. Love you, Goodbye.” But you have to be careful with these responses, as they can possibly get you into trouble.  A few years ago, at my previous parish, the church secretary reached out to me about an upcoming funeral.  As we worked out the details and we were coming to the end of our conversation, I went into my autopilot response.  “Okay. Love you, Goodbye.”  I hung up the phone and then I realized I had just professed my love to my church secretary.  What I learned that day: going into autopilot responses can be dangerous.

I hope after the reading of our Gospel this weekend you didn’t just go into autopilot and say, “Praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ.”  Jesus in the Gospel brings a difficult truth to the Gospel: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Did you pause to reflect on how this is in the Gospel?  How is this Good news?

What we need to come to realize is the division isn’t from God, the division lies in our own hearts.  None of us is perfect and we all need God’s mercy.  But, to receive that mercy, we need to acknowledge the need to change.  Change can be difficult and painful.  Hence, people’s rejection of change leading to division.

Why should we truly say “Praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ” for this Gospel?  We should claim it all the more because the Lord loves us so much.  God desires to not leave us where we are at.  He desires to draw us to Himself.  He calls us to become a new creation in him.  Let us ask God for the grace, as St. Paul says to “rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.”

Father Michael