When I preach I explain to people the teachings of the Church, in many occasions, about family life.  Once I spoke about the Catholic obligation to seek sacramental Marriage, not just civil marriage or live-in arrangements but a real church wedding. I reminded couples that they could not receive Communion if they were not married in Church.  I knew the message would be painful for some.
In the congregation was a man who was enraged by what he heard, having been civilly married for years.  He decided he would ignore the message. But he refrained from Communion and was deeply troubled.  This led him to ask around and discover what being Catholic really meant.  He learned that God was indeed asking him and his wife to have their union blessed by God as a sacrament.  In the end, I officiated their church wedding and we became great friends.
The gospel upsets our normal expectations of Jesus.  Today we hear him say words that are shocking. He says he did not come to bring peace.  He insists that following him will bring division even among close relatives.  Instead of extinguishing a flagrant fire, he was set on starting one!
Often we come to church or we rely on our faith to derive comfort, consolation and assurance.  We expect Jesus and the Church to inspire us and to encourage us in what we do.  But we also purposely skirt around the thorny issues that faith present to us.  We want to listen only to the topic that conforms to our taste.
But God does not act like this at all. In the first reading, God sent Jeremiah the prophet. Jeremiah was a maverick.  He spoke what other people would rather not hear.  While other prophets sugarcoated God’s message, Jeremiah boomed his message with ominous threats and warnings.  In the end, we know God spoke through Jeremiah and not through the false prophets who pleased and served the people’s inclinations and not God’s purposes.
Today many Catholics choose the inspiration over the challenges of Jesus. We dislike prophetic voices. We want the blessing but refuse obedience.  We want God to answer our prayers but not to enter our bedroom, business or pleasure.  We expect favors from God and ignore his will.  Just look at how many Catholics embrace anti-life policies even if these go against the Lord’s loving plan.
Jesus prepares his followers to receive both the pleasant and the unpleasant word, the exciting as well as the demanding. For our God is a responsible Father of all. Reminders, corrections and call to conversion are essential to his relationship with us, if we are to grow and mature as his children. The same is true of parents with a genuine concern for their children’s future.
My friend decided to take up God’s challenge and humbly ask the blessings of a church wedding. He is testimony to God’s faithfulness as graces overflowed in his family life and as peace entered his heart.  Are you too, willing to listen to the uncomfortable Gospel of Jesus?