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The Reality of Division
August 14, 2022, 12:00 AM

10th Sunday after Pentecost

Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Jesus calls on his hearers to turn their hearts away from greed and instead to generosity, to turn away from anxious self-preservation and instead to faithful self-giving. But such practice rubs against humanity’s deepest-seated sin, so conflict is born out of Jesus’ peace-filled activity. Jesus’ words and actions had already pitted him against the religious leaders and will lead him to the cross. Now, in today’s gospel, Jesus speaks to the reality of that division.

His words unsettle us, yet they are spoken for a reason. In the reading from Jeremiah, God challenges the prophets who dole out lies and deceit and asks, how long until they turn their hearts back to me? This is a question of compassion and yearning for a restored relationship. Likewise, although Jesus’ words are incendiary and speak of broken relationships, they are meant to prompt the people’s faithful response: to lay aside anxiety and greed and to turn their hearts to the treasures of God’s promised kingdom, where Christ takes division upon himself on the cross.

While fully aware of the realities of conflict and division, we are to live as hopeful people, praying fervently for God’s compassion and for the restoration of right relationships.