This is the ending of Jesus cautions to the disciples. Sell everything, be faithful and now Jesus promises division and not peace. It is an accurate picture of the times they are living in.
The Roman Empire is trying to conquer more and more lands. To expand as far as the known world. In order to do this the empire requires people to pay taxes and the ones in charge of collecting like a little profit on the side. The empire takes the best produce, the best soldiers, and it doesn't like new things which create unrest. Those first followers of the Way upset the norm in Jerusalem and so persecution of the new religion started. It meant people died for what they believed. They were turned in by friends and family who didn't believe and wanted to save their own skin.
We don't have a call that demanding of us. In order to believe we are not persecuted, our lives are not threatened, we are pretty safe. It seems we have it pretty easy. We are being called though. We are being called to represent the truth of the gospel. What is the gospel? It's a question we should ask ourselves often. We should want to stand for what it means and I don't mean by looking back to what has been. I mean the gospel, good news should shine out of our lives.
Last week we talked about losing our way by losing faith. Thinking the gospel is a set of rules or laws and Isaiah's condemnation was forgetting justice, looking for the oppressed, and taking care of the widow and orphan. It is loving neighbor as you love yourself. It is in the little acts you do.
A few weeks ago I watched a Danish film on World War II. It was about three schoolchildren navigating decisions their parents were making about the war. Two boys were best friends. One boy's father was working for the Nazis. The other boys family was part of the resistance. Neither boy knew where their family stood until a girl moved to their village. She tells her secret to the boy whose family is part of the resistance that she is a Jew and asks him to keep it from his friend. Well jealousy develops in the other boy and he reports to his father about a pig the girls family held back. They are arrested and her secret is found out. She is hopped out and the boy is devastated. He finds out about a round up of the resistance and goes under false pretenses to help his best friend. At twelve years old he decides to trick his father because he believes his father is wrong. He was good news to his friend and their family.
This is the choice we have today. Do we show what is the good news to others when others will turn their backs on is?Do we live the good news and demonstrate it on our lives so others know that hate is not the way of the cross? Do we choose to understand we may not have the popular message, we may have the message which is justice, which looks out for the oppressed and the widow and orphan? What is the good news? Jesus doesn't promise us the easy road in this. He does promise through it all God is there. Do we dare make the choice to stand for this good news?