(1) God’s sense of humor.
Today is the 22nd anniversary of my becoming engaged to Maureen, so I find it very amusing that in today’s Gospel Our Lord would say, “I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set . . . a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
A little piece of Suprenant family trivia: I was waiting for the next Marian feast day to propose, which was July 16th, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. However, like this year, that feast fell on a Monday in 1990, so I actually proposed the preceding Saturday. (Hey, if the Church can move the Ascension to Sunday . . .)
And, joking aside, my wife’s care for my mother in her old age and infirmity was incredibly edifying to me and a tremendous witness to our children.
(2) The lost life.
Our Lord gives us the paradox that if we truly want to be happy, if we truly want to live, then we will lose our lives for His sake. In this teaching we find, among other things, a wonderful catechesis on the deadly sin of greed (aka avarice, covetousness), which is a disordered love of getting and possessing.
Greed involves a failure to trust in Our Heavenly Father’s goodness, so we seek security in worldly realities, rather than in God alone. But a security built on worldly realities is a security built on sand, not solid rock. Or, as the soon-to-be-canonized Blessed Kateri, might say: “You can’t Tekakwitha when you die.” (Sorry about that!)
(3) The prophet’s reward.
We also hear in today’s Gospel that whoever hears the Apostles (and thus their successors) hears Christ Himself, which is a commonly cited biblical support for the perennial teaching regarding our belief in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. But there’s more here. When we support the Church and her leaders, we are supporting Christ Himself, and when we support the work of our bishops, missionaries, and the like, we share in their “reward.” In other words, just as formal cooperation with sin makes us guilty for the sin, so also such formal cooperation with the mission of the Church fully makes us partners in the “new evangelization.”