Weekly Mailing for Sunday 18th August 2019: War and Peace?

St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 18th August 2019.

There appears to be something of a dichotomy in our beliefs as we read the Gospel for this Sunday, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are told over and over again in scripture that God loves us; Jesus died for us; He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate: and yet, in Luke’s Gospel we seem to be hearing a different message from Jesus as he instructs his disciples: “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

We know that it is very easy to take things the wrong way when they are taken out of context. The Good News from Luke’s Gospel this Sunday is taken from Chapter 12, which in the chronology of Jesus’ Ministry relates his journey towards Jerusalem. He is teaching his disciples through many parables and explanations as he heads towards His ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. Is this going to be seen as an expression of peace and love? In fact, quite the opposite – and perhaps now we can understand the message that Jesus is trying to explain to his disciples.

I am sure that some of us will have experienced a feeling of slight discomfort when talking about our faith in the presence of others, who may be of a different faith or none. People who may find it hard to understand our commitment to love those whom society rejects; to forgive those who abuse us; to pray for those who oppress us. Our discomfort is minimal when we consider the plight of many Christians throughout the world who are persecuted, tortured, abused and killed for their commitment to the faith. No wonder that Jesus could not promise peace on earth.   

How fortunate are we, to be able to state in public in this country “I am a Christian” and to be able to worship without fear of persecution, imprisonment or death. Do we really appreciate that? Do we make every effort to be at worship as often as we can on Sundays and during the week? Do we really treasure our Sacraments?

We congratulate Dominique and Daniel as they celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at their wedding at St Mary’s on Sunday … and wish they every blessing in the future (and just make sure that everybody at the wedding knows not to take the last few verses of the Gospel reading out of context!)

David Griffiths