Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10: 34-39)

What kind of “sword” is our merciful Lord talking about here? The kind that slashed the ropes with which children were tied to beds in Perris, California. And what kind of “peace” does He “not” bring? The insidious, dark kind, which was maintained for years in that “quiet” household in Perris, under the brutal rule of human will run wild.

Christ does not come into our lives to destroy our family-life. But He does liberate us from the shackles of human codependency; from making any household entirely “our own,” without Him in the picture. Those in our “own” household, including ourselves, insofar as they or we are not “God’s,” but merely “our own,” easily become our “enemies”; that is to say, “enemies” to our freedom to follow Christ’s call or our “vocation.” Glory be to God, Who gave a 17-year-old the courage to climb out a window of that dark house, and to “lose” the life she had there. Lord, give me the courage to change the things I can, in Your light, and save me from making any merely-human will absolute in my life.


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