In the gospel of today’s Mass, Our Lord tells us that he came to bring not peace, but the sword of division between different people, even members of a single family.
What could cause that division? Truth and falsehood. When Pilate asked Jesus, who was on trial for his life, if he was a king, Our Lord replied in evasive language: that is your terminology; not mine. The reason I came into the world is to bear witness to the truth. This is one of the most important statements that our Savior ever made; it gives the motive for his incarnation.
Now, truth is one. There cannot be a number of different truths. If two and two are four, they are not six or ten or three. If two human beings disagree about something important like the beliefs of faith, only one, at most, can be right. Our Lord came to give us the truth; if a father knows, believes, and holds that truth, but his son denies or rejects it, then Our Lord WANTS there to be conflict there. Rather than a shoulder-shrugging indifference, which is what we find so often nowadays.
What Our Lord is really saying is: I would like all families to be united in harmony and concord, but if some members deny the truth that I preach, then the others must disagree with them. Truth and error cannot sit down at table together. We can certainly love the one in error, and can do our best to win him over by kindness and prayer. But we cannot say to him, “It doesn’t matter.” It matters so much that Jesus died on the cross for truth, and many martyrs have faced terrible deaths for it. Let us do our best to know the truth that Christ came into the world to bring, and to live it as authentically as we can. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.