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Religion is a matter of choice

(Jer 38.4-6,8-10; Heb 12.1-4; Lk 12.49-53)

There are families in New Zealand, some deeply Christian, where Covid vaccinations are still a sore and divisive wound. The future of some marriages tettered on this issue. This happened partly because we are part of highly individualised societies wherein personal choice is a hallowed right. This was not so in Jesus’ lifetime.

Judaism shaped the culture and life of every Jew. What you ate, who you married, and what career was open to you, were determined by your faith and by your clan. 

Jesus is often regarded as a bearer of peace and reconciliation. He could see clearly, however, how his total reconstruction of Judaism would tear families apart; it would end up as a life and death issue.

Religious affiliation is not so for us; it is perceived as a matter of personal preference. Yet being Christian, and even more being Catholic, is becoming more marginal. Our faith is portrayed as divisive and duplicitous. In this context it is good to remind ourselves that globally Christianity is the belief that is most libel to persecution and death. It makes us reflect on the old saying, “If it’s worth living for, it’s worth dying for.”

20th Sunday year C1

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