Thursday of the Twenty-NinthWeek in Ordinary Time

Sharing the Lord in the family 

“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.”  Lk 12,49-53

In the eighties, when our friend Francesca began to attend the Charismatic Renewal prayer group, her family was a constant fight. “Is it possible that, when you go to pray, we always quarrel” her husband was always telling her. Most times she did not answer, but, occasionally, she dared to give an answer like: “Actually, it’s you who wants to quarrel, I’m quiet”. “Look, it’s your peace of mind that makes me angry” her husband used to reply, even angrier. After a month of family discussions, Francesca decided to quit attending the prayer group; then, by using the same weapons as Esther’s, in which women are quite skilful, she returned together with her husband. From that moment onwards, they have began a long spiritual journey together, which is still going on. When Francesca used to come to the prayer group alone, she experienced that very situation which Jesus prophesies in today’s excerpt: “From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and tow against three”.

The reason is simple and logical. In a family, balances are formed over the passing years that span both the affective sphere and the habits. A unilateral change in them creates a sense of violence and disorder in the person who is not involved, even if he or she does not want to. It is as if the husband, coming back home at night, found that his wife had completely changed the layout of the furniture, , thinking to improve the internal design: the living room instead of the bedroom, and the latter instead of the dining room. “Wait a minute – he would say – but before you make such changes, you’d better talk to me about them!” Although the initiative of any change always starts with one person, who may have had an insight, an encounter or an experience that has affected him or her, the important choices in a family must be made together. In the end, faith lived with clarity, charity and patience always leads to communion. The Lord is the bringer of peace, not division: this is the only way for the accomplishment of a new union, at a higher level.

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