MATTHEW 10 – THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S COMING – SEEMINGLY NOT “HAPPY FAMILIES”

 

 “FOR I (JESUS) HAVE COME TO ‘SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW’; AND ‘A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD” (Mt10:35,36)

I mention this in the context of Jesus’ herald, John the Baptist (aka Elijah). It was said of him by angels:

AND (JOHN) WILL BRING BACK MANY OF THE ‘ISRAELITES’ TO THE LORD THEIR GOD. WITH THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH HE WILL GO BEFORE (CHRIST) TO RECONCILE FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN AND THE DISOBEDIENT TO THE GOOD SENSE OF THE UPRIGHT, PREPARING FOR THE LORD A PEOPLE FIT FOR HIM (Lk1:16-17NJB)

And in the Old Testament, the closing verses stated:

BEHOLD, I WILL SEND YOU ELIJAH THE PROPHET BEFORE THE COMING OF THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD. AND HE WILL TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN AND THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS LEST I COME AND STRIKE THE EARTH WITH A CURSE.” (Mal4:5,6 – Catholic editions= Mal3:23-24)

Do we still think Malachi and the Angel Gabriel  had “happy families” in mind for the work of the one who was tasked to restore everything (apokatastesai panta –Mt17:11) before the great and dreadful day of the Lord?

People have come to that view simply because there is no obvious alternative in terms of racial or ecclesiological groupings who could meaningfully be regarded as fathers and children. But that was in John’s day; today is quite another matter: there are Christians and their Jewish fathers of the faith on the one hand; Catholic/Orthodox Christians and the children of the Reformation on the other. Regardless of who was to blame for those divisions (Paul would say Jews in the former case; I would say both parties in the latter case), there is certainly scope for reconciliation now, and in view of the last phrase in the Old Testament, should we not earnestly attend to the matter?