Paxil In Terra


Jesus said to his disciples:

 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!

There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

This, last Sunday’s gospel reading, is an essential corrective to the “gentle Jesus” lie.

My local priest insisted in his sermon that of course this did not mean that Jesus or God wanted division. Jesus indeed came to bring peace. The division was that some would not listen to his call for peace.

Too clever by half. Besides, it contradicts Jesus’s actual words: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.”

Had Jesus really called for peace, he would not have been crucified. The established powers would be delighted, as they embrace that message today.

If all you want is peace, Buddhism is the religion for you. Hakuna Matata. For Christianity, that is cowardice and acedia. Christian existence is an eternal war of good against evil. The Christian is, in St. Paul’s words, to “work out his salvation in fear and trembling.” The goal is not peace and acceptance of what is, but justice and the heavenly Jerusalem.

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