“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” - Matthew 10:34
Yesterday, in RCIA class, we were asked "When was a time when you felt the word of Jesus cut you like a sword?"
Back in the winter of this year, there were many teachings of the Catholic faith that I was NOT a fan of. I mean..who wants to go to confession? Most Protestants roll their eyes at the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the true interpreter of the scriptures. ("Don't you know they're all a bunch of heretics who worship a wafer!?!?!?")
My personal objections aside there was one place where I was absolutely sure that the Catholics were right and that is John 6. Looking at the ancient greek words chosen by John throughout that chapter, there is simply no other interpretation that stands up to any sort of intellectual scrutiny. He clearly intended the reader to know that Christ was being literal.
As Sir William of Ockham would say "all things being equal..the simplest explanation is the correct one".
So how did that cut me like a sword?
Because I knew the only place to get the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, in the Eucharist, was in the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox mass and that would mean submitting to the teachings and authority of the Church.
We can't have it both ways. We can't have the true divine communion while we still refuse to accept that we don't get to make up the rules for ourselves.
Do we really think that God’s grace, that cost the life of his only begotten son, that required him to empty the entire cup of wrath and pour it out upon his son would be available for us to obtain so cheaply?
As Bonhoeffer wrote:
"Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him."
He would have made a great Catholic, btw
"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”
He certainly didn’t. We can accept it all or reject it all but we can’t have it both ways. As Peter tells us in his first epistle:
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”