I think Jesus’s words are timely for today’s political and social climate. “I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” Yep. Relatable. Tolerance is the new golden virtue, but tolerance doesn’t mean in practice what it means by definition. In order to “tolerate” something, one must disagree with it. As my friend Chris always says, “You don’t ‘tolerate’ a beautiful day.” To truly tolerate something/someone, we would treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve while still standing by the principles we believe in. Nowadays, from my perspective at least, the practice of tolerance is more appropriately characterized as beaming support of those different than you whose life and beliefs you don’t necessary share. There’s no room for disagreement in today’s culture.
That’s why Jesus came not to bring peace but the sword. Jesus boldly stood up and challenged the status quo. He didn’t passively sit back in the face of blasphemy, sin, or misunderstanding. This sowed division in His own life and ministry. You can see the fruit of that division with one glance at the cross. When we stand up for Truth, we always face division whether it be in our own families, our parishes, our communities, our countries, what have you.
Jesus calls us, and expects us, to love Him before all else. He calls us to enter through the narrow gate. It will be challenging, but it will be rewarding. Because only when we place God before all else can we love anything else as He intends. Anything placed before God becomes an idol. That’s not to say that the thing which we love is bad, quite the contrary! Those things are often (not always) very, very good. Love must be properly ordered. God gave us many amazing gifts: family, friends, nature, intellect, work, etc. They were created good and He wants us to enjoy them, but not when they drive us further from Him instead of draw us closer.
We must stand up. We must receive the prophet and the righteous man. We must give a cup of cold water to the little ones. We must be faithful to the precepts of the Lord even when they go against everything the culture tells us. But do all things with great love.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization