By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
There is a passage in St. Matthew’s Gospel that could make us quiver. These are tough and unsettling statements from our Lord. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:34-36)
Isn’t our Lord Jesus the Prince of Peace? Why is He talking about war and division, even among a man’s relatives? Because to achieve peace we ought to undergo war first. Often times it’s a spiritual war like going against ourselves and our bad inclinations but sometimes there would also be disagreements with others when we take our faith seriously. Nobody wants conflict. Nobody wants skirmish, but if we take our faith seriously, some people would oppose us especially if we make a stand on Christian beliefs and teachings. Here, in the Philippines we are still fortunate enough to be a Christian nation with a majority remaining to believe in God and a good number adhere to the Church’s teachings. But in the Western countries, there is a cancel culture happening especially on religion and specifically Christian religion. No public prayers are allowed in the universities, the wearing of a necklace with a crucifix in many schools is prohibited because it somehow “offends” the non-Christians. The sight of a crucifix, they say, is imposing on them the Christian religion, when it is for the wearer to remind him or her of God and it’s not for them. They have abandoned logic and right reasoning just to attack Christianity. These progressives would claim they are the most tolerant of people because they welcome many different races to their countries. But strangely they can’t tolerate religion. And not to mention the persecutions Christians are undergoing in the Middle East or in Muslim countries, which is at par with the era of martyrdom of Christians in the early centuries.
But this should not surprise us. Christ warned His followers that persecution and martyrdom would be the lot of Christians. “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.” (Luke 21:12) Christianity will always be opposed on earth no matter what the era. If it is not getting any opposition then it is a sign that Christianity is no longer fulfilling its role. One of the roles of the Church and Christianity is to tell the truth much like the prophets of the Old Testament. And some people can’t handle the truth and will oppose it because it goes against their lifestyle and especially with the idea of a future punishment awaiting them. “The light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) But the truth has to be told so that no one can say they were never warned.
Life of man on earth is a warfare. The journey will be full of skirmishes and conflicts until our last breath. We have to struggle because no one gets rewarded unless one has fought. And it is a battle both from within and without. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)