Pastor's Desk: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 17th August 2019 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End • Three against two and two against three

Sadly, many people are no strangers to family feuds. In past generations, things like land and inheritance were major causes of family disagreements, causing parents to fall out with sons or daughters, or siblings to stop speaking for years. We may have heard other stories from our own families – secrets that were not talked about, relatives who were shunned for ‘shaming’ the family. These attitudes are dying away, and that is good. We are less concerned with keeping up appearances, and more focused on ensuring children feel loved and supported.

Yet, there will always be conflicts in family life. Differences of opinion can arise over beliefs or choices, sometimes causing immense hurt on both sides. Often these disagreements are between generations. Parents who have raised their children in the faith can feel hurt when a son or daughter drifts away, or decides not to pass on the faith to their own children. Grandparents often carry this burden too.

Some conflict is unavoidable as we navigate these situations, but we have a choice – do we allow anger and hurt to shape our interactions with loved ones, or do we listen with respect and try to understand and find common ground? Perhaps these inevitable conflicts are what Jesus refers to in today’s Gospel – father divided against son, mother against daughter. It’s a surprising statement given his usual focus on peace. But then, following Jesus is not a smooth path. Peace can be hard-won, particularly in families where there are so many different personalities and opinions. Let us pray for wisdom and patience to navigate the tougher times.

Tríona Doherty