I don’t go to the movies very often – maybe once or twice a year. Some years ago I went to see “Planet of the Apes”. (And I was reminded why I don’t go to the movies very often – it was a waste of money.) There are several lines in the movie that are borrowed from other movies and from actual history. At one point in the film, one of the apes says: “Why can’t we all just get along?” (A line from Rodney King during the L.A. riots in 1991.) It sounds like a reasonable question. And there is an answer: Sin. Our human nature, created good by God, has been wounded by sin. This makes it difficult for us to live peaceful, holy, good lives. It also helps us understand the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51) It is not that Jesus brought strife and division into the world, but that the sin in the world cannot accept the Truth which He teaches, and revolts against that Truth. It is not that the Lord desires that there be strife, but rather that He sees that His Truth will bring strife. The same was true for the prophets in the Old Testament (for instance, Jeremiah in today’s first reading) and for John the Baptist. They all proclaimed the Truth from God and were opposed by those who resisted the message. They hated the message, and so they persecuted the messenger. That is why throughout history many Christians have been persecuted and still are today. Now, it is true that we often bring troubles upon ourselves because of our own wrongdoing. But we ought not to be surprised when we experience discord and opposition precisely when we are following the Lord most closely.
Fall is the time for us to start our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) formation classes. These classes are for any person who is not baptized, or who is baptized in another Christian church and is interested in becoming a full member of the Catholic Church. Our first class is this Wednesday, August 17. Call the parish office for more info or to register.
May God bless you!