Monday of the 15th Week of the Year

Matt 10:34-11:1

Jesus: Cause of Division


The gospel message of today sounds like a contradiction. In one part of the Scriptures, Christ promises peace: “I leave you peace, my peace I give to you.” Nut in Matthew 10:34, he says: “My mission is to spread, not peace, but division.”

When we encounter such seeming contradictions,, Jesus’ own examples and the context of his teachings should be considered. For the core of his teachings has always been love, unity, peace.

What the Lord stresses is that God’s peace should not be the kind that accepts compromises with evil or tolerates injustices and wrongdoings. And a Christian must exemplify this “peace” even at the cost of antagonizing and hurting relatives and friends (v. 35).

This message is illustrated in the story of Thomas More (1477-1535). He was a devout layman and brilliant lawyer. Thomas was appointed High Chancellor of England by King Henry VIII. At a crucial point, Thomas was made to choose between friendship and loyalty to the king or his faith and conscience. He chose the latter when he opposed King Henry’s illegitimate union with Anne Boleyn and refused to recognize him as supreme head of the Church of England.

After resisting even the entreaties of his own family which he considered contrary to the will of God, he was decapitated at the Tower of London with these parting words: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

There will be situations in life, perhaps not as dramatic as that of Thomas More, when we, too, have to refuse compromises with evils and wrongdoings. (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


“My mission is to spread, not peace, but division.” The gospel reading has nothing to do with violence. Jesus is not man of violence but a man of peace. It only shows that truth will be divisive in a world full of different people with different attitudes toward God and the truth. Prince of Peace though Jesus is, the world will so violently reject him and his reign that even closest relatives and friends will be polarized over him. The disciples would be sent out to the same hostile world. Like their Master the disciples would also experience rejection of their person and their message, even to the point of betrayal. It is Jesus’ followers who will be “chased with a sword,” as they are hated by all people because of his name (Lk 21:17). Jesus himself experienced these feelings because of the treachery of Judas Iscariot and the denial of Simon Peter. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Mother Teresa “is a person who has profoundly disturbed my peace of mind for a long time,” author Robert Fulghum has written. “She doesn’t even know me, but she continually goes around minding my business.”

“….Alongside my mirror is a photograph of this troublesome woman. Each time I look in the mirror at myself, I also look at her face…servant of the poor and the sick and the dying. Yet no Shah or President or Prime Minister holds the key to as much power as she possesses. Hers is the invincible weapons against the evils of this earth; the caring heart; and hers are the everlasting riches of life: the compassionate spirit. And while I wrestle at the impotence of the individual, she goes right on changing the world. While I wish for more power and resources, she uses her power and resources to do what she can at the moment. She upsets me, disturbs me and shames me.

“If ever there is truly peace on earth, goodwill to men, it will be because of persons like her. Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are and something you give away!”

Jesus said: “I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” Like a sword, the person of Christ cuts through the status quo, upsets and disturbs it but with the purpose of establishing real peace. On our part the sword means shedding off whatever is not Christ-like, whatever is obstructionist in the pursuit of real peace both in ourselves and society. (Fr. GdP, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


We make a grave mistake if we assume that we will never face persecution simply because we live in a free country. Conflicts, family divisions or some kind of persecution are inevitable, Jesus Himself says so!

The Word reminds us that it is vitally important to spiritually arm ourselves with “inner emergency equipment” before crisis hits.

Most of us have emergency equipments in our homes and offices: a first-aid kit, a flashlight, perhaps a fire extinguisher or at least a cellphone to use in an S.O.S. situation. We like the Boy Scouts motto: “Be prepared.” We never know when and how emergencies will come. Woe to those caught unprepared…..

Here’s a sample of a “survival kit” for daily living:

  1. Toothpick – to pick out the good qualities in others.
  2. Rubber band – to be flexible. Things may not always go the way you want.
  3. Band aid – to heal ill feelings and resentments.
  4. Pencil – to list your blessings everyday.
  5. Eraser – to remind you that everyone makes mistakes.
  6. Chewing gum – to help you stick to things you really want to accomplish.
  7. Tea bag – to help you relax and reflect on all the positive things in your life.

It’s in reaching out to others that we heal ourselves. In giving happiness, we receive our peace and rising above our sorrows that we find joy! (Fr. Romy M. Castro, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


If Jesus is the prince of peace, then why is it that He contradicts Himself in today’s gospel when He says, “Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword…” For literalists this statement poses a great contradiction for it defies human logic, but for believers it is an invitation for self-introspection. This presumption comes from the fact that every reality can be viewed from different perspectives.

We should not be limited with common perception, literal interpretation and subjective analysis because truth itself is evolving. Hence there is a wide variety of contexts that affect certain events to happen. Take for instance, the context when Jesus delivered His teachings in the gospel today. Most people during the time of Christ had a strong familial bond and half deep-seated patriarchal orientation. That is to say, blood is thicker than water, which remains to be validly true up to the present Christ had witnessed different parental abuses, injustices and even suppression of truth within families that is why He bluntly suggests a stand against these abuses and injustices even to the point of division in the family. The sword that He brings is a symbolic representation of being firm against unjust traditions in the family.

Yes Christ is the prince of peace because the sword that He brings is a symbol of courage that will make us steadfast against challenges of life. May Christ continue to live in our hearts. (Fr. Roger Solis, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


We call Him Prince of Peace yet he is telling us, “Do not think that I have come to establish peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Did he did not come in peace to reconcile broken and sinful humankind to an all merciful and ever loving Father?

Jesus might have in mind the prophecy of Micah: “A man’s enemies are the men of his own household,” (7:6). The love of God requires us to choose who will be the number one priority in our life. Thus, to place any relationship or anything else above God is a form of idolatry. He challenges his disciples to reexamine themselves as to who they love first and foremost. He insists that His disciples give him the loyalty due to God; a kind that is even higher than spouse or kin.

However, true love of God should compel us to express love towards our brothers and sisters. Any kindness and help shown in our brethren will not lose its reward. As true and faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to be kind and generous like him.

“Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived the things you have prepared for those who love you. set us ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit that we may love you in and above all things and so receive the rewards you have promised us through Christ our Lord,” – Christian Prayer Book. (Fr. Mike M. Mahinay SVD Bible Diary 2013)


July 11, 2016 Monday

In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks “of not bringing peace” upon the earth in view of his radical call to discipleship. He calls us to follow him, serve him and imitate his way of life. Responding to this call entails in us a total change in our way of thinking, living, and behaving. It can cause a great deal of pain and suffering to us and to our families like what happened to St. Francis of Assisi when he renounced all his wealth and family inheritance to follow JESUS’ call to a life of poverty.

This is the gospel call today – to make a sincere decision to follow JESUS in all his ways, and to give ourselves completely to Him without turning back no matter what consequence it might entail to us and to others.

Everyday, there is always something to which we are called and dared to respond: a hungry and poor man; our deteriorating prayer life; our lack of faithfulness to the sacraments; someone we have been refusing forgiveness; that nagging urge to commit, as religious and priests, to serving him in his mission to the world.

More often, to respond to most of these needs demand only a little pain, a little cross to carry, and a little discomfort in our lives. Fortunately, the more we respond, the more we nd peace, joy, fulfillment and happiness in our hearts rather than turbulence and sadness. Today, let us prioritize our Lord and his calls in our life. We simply cannot imagine the joy and the peace that come with doing it. Let us do it now. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD | DWS, Tagaytay Bible Diary 2016)


Monday, July 13, 2015

MONDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 10:34-11:1. SA UNSA MANG PAAGIHA SI KRISTO MAGDALA’G KASAMOK UG PAGBAHINBAHIN DIHA SA PAMILYA UG KATILINGBAN? Ang pagka-Kristiyano magtawag kanato sa pagbarog alang sa kamatuoran, kaangayan ug katarong. Sa pagtuman nato niini, adunay mga tawo nga mahimo natong kaaway. Mahitabo kini tungod kay aduna may mga tawo nga dili matinud-anon, bintahoso, ug mapahimuslanon. Ang mga tawong Kristohanon maoy mahimong babag sa ilang mga daotang plano ug tinguha. Pananglitan, usa ka empleyado sa munisipyo ang nahimong kaaway sa iyang mga kauban tungod kay dili siya moapil sa ilang buhat nga pagpangurakot. Kini tingali ang gipasabot ni Winston Churchhill sa iyang pag-ingon: “You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Posted by Abet Uy


CONTINUE TO LOVE – And one’s enemies will be those of his household. – Matthew 10:36

“Ate Osy…” Rissa was teary eyed as she held her mobile phone. It looked like she just received bad news. My hunch was right. Her mom had sent her heartbreaking messages of anger. “Where are you, Rissa?!? You’re always at The Feast!”

Rissa’s faith and service has grown from being an attendee of The Feast, our weekly prayer meeting, to heading the intercessory ministry. But through all these, she has struggled in her relationship with her mom. Rissa’s mom didn’t like her attending ministry meetings, connect groups, and prayer gatherings.

Rissa reduced her time for ministry to one day; the rest for work and family. She even brought her mom to The Feast so she could see what it was all about. But her mom’s disposition didn’t change.

When we stand up for our faith, almost always, the first people to judge us are those closest to us — our family and friends. They might question our transformation, doubt our faith or even reject us. But we have to remain firm in our belief and continue to love them — with the same love we receive from God.Osy Erica (

Reflection: Have you been rejected for your faith? Remain firm and know that God will stand up for you, the same way you are standing up for Him.

Jesus, when I am faced with rejection, be my shield.


JESUS CONFRONTS US WITH CHOICES – “Do not think that I came to send peace on earth: I did not come to send peace, but a sword.” These are strange words coming from the lips of Jesus whom we call the Prince of Peace and who spoke against hatred and quarrel and encouraged love, even love of the enemy.

But Jesus is always absolutely honest with those He invites to follow Him. Strangely, He offers them conflict; and that conflict will often be that one’s enemies will be those of his own household.

I have experienced this in my parish in Japan. A mother had been baptized but her husband rejected her because of this and did not allow his two children to follow their mother and be baptized also.

To be confronted with Jesus is to make this choice: to accept or reject Him. It is rare that a person is confronted with this drastic choice. We may go through life and never face it, but the fact remains that it is possible for a person’s loved ones to become his enemies, if they keep him from doing what he knows God wants him to do.

Jesus offers the Cross. As His followers, we may sometimes have tosacrifice personal ambitions, the comfort that we might have enjoyed, the career that we might have achieved. We may have to lay aside some of our dreams. We will certainly have to sacrifice our will, for no real Christian can do what he likes; he must do what Christ likes. In Christianity, there is always some cross, for it is the religion of the Cross.

When we seek comfort and security and the fulfillment of personal ambitions, we may get all these things, but we will not be happy; for we are sent into this world to serve God and our fellowmen. The way to serve others, the way to fulfill God’s purpose for us, the way to true happiness is to spend life selflessly. Only then will we find life — here and hereafter. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you afraid of making choices that God demands from you? Do you seek compromise rather than a radical decision?

Lord, Your words disturb me. Thank You for being honest with me. I tend to choose compromise and comfort. Give me the courage and strength to choose the Cross, heavy as it may be. Amen.


July 13, 2015

Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time B

Ex 1: 8-14, 22, Mt 10: 34—11:1

‘Finding’ life and ‘losing’ my life’

We come to the final part of Jesus’ apostolic discourse in Mathew chapter 10. At a first reading, today’s passage could be puzzling, not to say highly disturbing, to some. Jesus seems to contradict everything that he has said and done so far.  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring but the sword.”  But do we not call Jesus the Prince of Peace?  Does Jesus not say during the Last Supper discourse in John’s gospel that he has come to give his peace to his disciples, a peace that no one will ever be able to take away from them? (John 14:27)

And Jesus goes on to apply to himself a passage from the prophet Micah (7:6): “For I have come to set ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  A man’s enemies will be those of his own household’.  It sounds a terrible thing for Jesus our Saviour to be saying.  But it expresses not what he wants to happen but what he sees as an inevitable outcome of his message of love.  It says more about us than about him.

Unfortunately, what Jesus says has only been confirmed again and again.  We have mentioned before the paradox that the message of Jesus about truth, love, justice and freedom for people everywhere is seen by some as highly subversive and dangerous.  And people who subscribe to this vision of Jesus and try to implement it in their lives are likely to run into headlong opposition with those who have a totally different vision of life and who see Jesus’ vision as a real threat to their interests.  In a world of conflicting ideologies, philosophies, cultures, traditions, ethnic and religious identities, to declare that one is opting for the Way of Jesus is often to invite opposition, persecution and even death.

Remember what had happened to Graham Stains and his two little kids? His only crime as seen by the Hindu fanatics was that he was transforming the pathetic lives of the hapless lepers and the poor through the practice of love taught by Jesus. Why did the hired criminal, Samandhar Singh stabbed Sister Rani Maria 54 times in front of more than 50 bus passengers in a jungle area allegedly at the behest of money lenders? It is simply because the venerable sister risked her life challenging the injustice for the sake of the Kingdom of God envisaged by our Lord Jesus which affected exploiters when she organized self-help groups among the poor village women.

What Jesus says here is a fact – and was already a known experience when this gospel was written.  Christianity divided families and, in some places, it still does.  But people who see and understand and accept the vision of life that Jesus offers know they have no choice but to follow it, even if close family members object.  To go with Christ is to enter a new family, with new bonds.  The Christian may be hounded and hated and expelled by family members, colleagues and even by the societies and its social clubs; but a follower of Christ should not retort to them in the same coin. On the contrary, the dearest wish of such a disciple of Jesus is that they will be able to see what he sees and, until they do, he will pray for them, bless them and love them.

Jesus then goes on to lay down the conditions necessary to be a genuine disciple.  “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me.”  In our Indian culture this may appear to be a hard saying and seems to fly in the face of the filial piety and respect for the authority of elders which is at the heart of our societies especially in North India.

It is not, in fact, in conflict.  Love and respect for family members is a very high value for the Christian but there are even higher values which may take precedence.  Filial piety and parental authority can be very inward-looking, too centred on just their family, community or religious sect or group of people.  Racial, national and religious identity can also be very narrow and intolerant in its understanding.

Christianity is outward-looking and realises that there are people out there whose needs are even prior to those of my family.  To the Christian his blood family are only some among many brothers and sisters who have to be loved, served and cared for.   One is also never bound to follow family requirements which would be against truth, love, justice, honesty… As a Christian, I cannot obey a parent or other family member who practices dishonesty in business, who cheats, who sexually abuses, who practices racism or narrow-minded nationalism and the like and urges me to do the same.

Jesus, as the Word of God, stands for a level of truth and integrity and love which is the ultimate measure of all that I do and say.  I cannot conform to the wishes of anyone, however close, who falls short of that measure.  But my Christian love and concern for that person will not be diminished, in spite of how I may be treated.

To live like this can at time involve pain, separation, intense suffering and even death. This is what Jesus means when he says that I am not worthy of him unless I am willing to take my cross and walk with him.  There is a price to be paid for being true and loving and just.  This also is what he means by ‘finding’ life and ‘losing’ my life.  To ‘find’ life in the worldly sense is to take the easy way of accommodation and compromise, not to mention material gain and pleasure; but to ‘lose’ in the Christian sense is to let go and let Jesus take charge. Of course, as Jesus points out, in the long run it is the ‘losers’ who find and the ‘finders’ who lose. Dr. John Ollukaran CMI


Monday of the15th Week in Ordinary Time

11 July 2016

Is 1: 10-17; Mt 10: 34- 11:1

Priorities in Our Life 

There is a Jewish story called ‘Bad Business’. Once the evil spirit came dejected and sad before God and wailed, “Almighty God, I want you to know that I am bored.  I have no more business and I go around whole day doing nothing, and there is no work left for me”.

“I can’t understand you,” replied God. There’s plenty of work to be done. May be you’ve got to take more initiative. Why don’t you use new technology and try to lead people into sin? That’s your job!”

“Lead people into sin!” muttered the Evil Spirit contemptuously. “Why Lord, even before I can get a chance to say a blessed word to anyone he has already gone and sinned!”

In the Gospel Jesus says that he has come to cast a sword on earth and to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and so on.  Even the evil spirit is not required to tempt us anymore.   But we don’t need Jesus to cast a sword on earth – we do that pretty well without his help. We don’t need Jesus to turn family members against other family members – we do that pretty well without his help.

When Jesus spoke about division he likely had in mind the prophecy of Micah: a man’s enemies are the men of his own household (Micah 7:6).  It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies, if the thought of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do. The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To place any relationship or anything else above God is a form of idolatry. Jesus challenges us to examine who we love first and foremost. A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin.

Here the point is not just that your choice to follow Jesus causes your loved ones to pull away from you, but that you must make a priority choice between Jesus and those people and things that you care about, and here it’s regardless of whether or not they are also followers of Christ.

This is the Abraham test. You remember God called upon Abraham to be willing to sacrifice the son of promise? God calls on us to make a decision about priorities in our life that places him first. Above career, above comfort, above our personal hopes and dreams, above, yes, even father and mother, son and daughter. Dr. Cyril Kuttiyanikkal CMI


Love is Demanding

July 13, 2015 (readings)

Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Shawn Aaron, LC

Matthew 10: 34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the 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 one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Petition: Jesus, I want to love as you have loved me.

  1. Not Peace but the Sword:Complacency can be defined as “self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”. This is a false peace, even a harmful peace. It is a self-satisfied peace that lulls us to sleep and can result in the loss of those things that are truly most valuable in life: God, faith, family, etc…. Jesus comes to interrupt that false peace by upending the tables of our lives (cf. John 2:15) in an effort to awaken us to the dangers that our false peace has blinded us to. As he drove out the sheep and oxen from the temple, so, too, he will use circumstances, trials and difficulties as his “sword” to drive out from our lives whatever is opposed to God’s goodness and our own dignity.
  2. Nothing Before God:With this phrase we start getting an inkling of the type of sword our Lord is wielding. He is giving us a criterion that starts from heaven downward because he is trying to lift us from the earth upward. What natural relationship is closer than the one between a parent and child, especially a mother and child? Yet even this bond must be subordinate to the love we have for God. Why? Well, no creature, not even our parents, can bring us to the fullness of life and happiness that comes only from God. God wants us to love him, not because he needs our love but because we need him. He is objective reality, and we must always move from the subjective to the objective if we are to possess the truth. Jesus invites us to adapt our standards from the merely natural and passing to the supernatural and everlasting.
  3. Love of God Is Inclusive Not Exclusive:Giving a cup of water to one of the least of our brothers and sisters will not go unrewarded, and therefore, unnoticed. In this way, Jesus shows that he is not calling us to a love of God that excludes others. The standard of placing God first does not exclude love for mother or father, sister or brother. Once we love God as he deserves, we will learn to love others as they truly deserve. In fact, we merit the vision of the God we cannot see by loving the neighbor we do see.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, following you demands my all, and at times it seems that I do not have the strength to give what you ask. Help me to stay close to you in prayer and in the sacraments so as to have the grace to live the standard of love and generosity that you ask. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.

Resolution: Today I will make three acts of self-denial and offer them for someone in need of prayers.

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July 11, 2016

REFLECTION: It is ironic that by sheer coincidence, the first reading (which is the usual reading for the Monday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time) should coincide this year with our ­remembering St. Benedict. Why ironic? Because Benedict’s entire life as well as the life of all his innumerable ­followers is centered on the liturgy (the Eucharist and the Holy Office sung in choir), whereas in the first reading Isaiah condemns the liturgical practices of his contemporaries!

Perhaps this is as good an opportunity as any to set the record straight, because some Christians have distorted views on the importance of the liturgy, particularly of the Mass. They believe that the Mass should be considered their most important duty, a goal for which everything else is a means. But the prophet Isaiah reminds us that, without social justice, liturgical practices are an abomination to God. And he is absolutely right. At the Last Judgment, Christ will not ask us how many Masses we have atten­ded, but how many bro­thers and sisters we fed, visited, consoled, helped in various ways. Mass is a means to become a more loving person, not an end in itself. The end in itself is always to love. Nothing is more important than love.


See Today’s Readings: Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 15th Week of the Year

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