Jesus IS Lord

You might be scratching your head or recoiling in dismay when you read or hear the Readings for today. Isaiah’s word from the Lord is jarring: “Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me… When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood!” Yikes. This is God’s Old Testament reaction to the sin and disobedience of his Chosen People.

We might expect to hear “nicer” words from Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in the New Testament; but in today’s Gospel he says something equally jarring: “I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law…” These words recall to the minds of his hearers the word of Micah (Micah, 7:6), who foretells the time of a breakdown in family loyalties, leaving God as their only hope of salvation.

This is where Jesus wants to lead his hearers: to put loving trust in Jesus our Savior above every created thing, including family members if necessary! How can he say this? How can he demand this? Only because Jesus IS Lord. Only because Jesus IS God, Savior, and Prince of Peace can he make extreme demands; only because his promises are even more extremely generous would we embrace his demands. He truly asks us to sacrifice our worldly goods, our family relationships, our comfort and security in this world, and even our mortal life for love of him. But in return, he promises we will be repaid a hundredfold, we will find our true selves, we will have eternal life.

If we fail to make Jesus the source and center of our lives, we are not worthy of him. He makes extreme claims on our desires and energies for one reason: LOVE. Our friendship with Christ must come before every other human relationship and pursuit, because this is the way to true joy, peace, and everlasting life, which he promises us. Jesus knows the deep desires of the human heart and spirit, and he knows that only intimacy with God can fulfill those deepest longings.

We come from God, we are returning to God, and God is rescuing us every step of the way; but every step of the way, we must choose loving trust in God and the good of others over our own selfishness, self-reliance, and security. He calls us to self-governance and obedience to the Father’s will, for love of him, as the way to true freedom of spirit. No matter what  comes to us from outside of us, the “sanctuary of the heart” must be guarded by obedience to God’s will, lit with love, and moved by the willingness to give all with complete trust in exchange for eternal life with him and with all those for whom we sacrificed.

This is the promise to which Jesus’ words and life point and draw us.

This is the way he has already walked.

And he invites us to take up our cross and follow after him, “losing” our small earthly plans and desires in exchange for his glorious and eternal life.

Kathryn is married to Robert, mother of seven, grandmother to two, and a lay Carmelite. She has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and also as a writer and voice talent for Holy Family Radio. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and presenter, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, individual parishes, and Catholic ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Learn more at or on Facebook @summapax.