Is 1:10-17 ; Ps 50:8-23 ; Mt 10:34-11:1
Sometimes we must associate with other believers and disassociate with our families. We must not merely recite the statues of the LORD with our lips or the covenant of the LORD with our mouths; rather, we are summoned to faithfully live out our baptism. We do not hate the discipline of discipleship; rather we are delighted to do the will of God in our daily life. The sacrifice of our praise is the sacrifice of our life. We walk the right way and reveal to our contemporaries, the salvation of God. We must give ourselves to the Lord Jesus, and he is the only love of our life. Everything else is the gift of the cross from day to day. We believe that the Lord Jesus will provide for us no matter how completely we are rejected by our families. Our state of helplessness does not cause any fear, rather, we grow to trust in the Lord and to embrace the cross of Christ, our only true love and faithful divine spouse.
To whom is the Prophet Isaiah speaking? This Word of the LORD comes centuries after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If the prophet is trying to get the attention of the People of God, perhaps this salutation will arouse resistance, to say the least. Or perhaps the salutation is intrinsic to the message. The LORD is not happy with a nation that pumps out the worship and avoids the consequences of worship. We become what we worship, yet the people of God have not become like God. They, like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, have become their lust. The entire energy of their cult of the Temple has been given over to avoiding God rather than surrendering to the Will of God. They want what they want and not what God wants. In the worship of the Temple the LORD takes no pleasure. He commands: “Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me.” The LORD goes on to reveal his anger; he does not hold back. The LORD detests the false worship of his people. Indeed, their hands are full of blood; injustice is their way of life. They no longer redress the wronged; they hear not the orphan’s plea; they do not defend the widow. Without striving to live in the justice of God, the worship of God is useless and impossible. Such hypocrisy makes Israel and Judah just another Sodom and Gomorrah. The favored people and holy nation will share a fate with the ancient cities of sin and injustice, unless they repent and become what they worship.
The sword that the Lord Jesus brings into the world is nothing less than the sharp double-edged sword of the Word of God. It is this gospel message that cuts between the bone and the marrow. Indeed, the Lord Jesus has come to separate and to divide. He comes to separate his disciples from those who are lost. He comes to divide his disciples from those who offer counterfeit peace. It is the cross of Christ that will be seen in the lives of his disciples. It is the cross of Christ that separates and divides. No family is safe. The radical demands of the gospel are not hidden or compromised. Anyone who finds himself and his meaning outside of the mystery of the cross is lost. Anyone who looses himself and his importance in the mystery of the cross is found. The only way this paradox can be communicated is by the disciple laying down his life like Christ in loving service. Serving anyone in need; pouring oneself out in love; exhausting all one’s energy in other oriented living, such is the way of the cross. This is the only way to be a disciple. Anyone who offers you a drink of water will not lose his reward. Anyone who refuses to refresh you will himself bear a thirst unbearable.