Matthew 10:34 – 11:1
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set 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 those of his own household.
‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.
‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.
‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’
When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.
Reflection on the Knife Sculpture
Today we are looking at this rather terrifying figure of an angel, made of more than 100,000 swords and knives, confiscated from 43 police forces across the United Kingdom. For three years, police forces in the UK have been donating knives taken off the streets in a huge amnesty and given them to artist Alfire Bradley, who made this sculpture with the knives. The Knife Angel, commissioned by Shropshire’s British Ironwork Centre is enormous, at 27 feet high. The artwork is the culmination of a project called ‘Save a Life, surrender Your Knife”, which aims to raise awareness of knife crime in the UK.
The materials used (the knives), alongside the rather scary looking facial expression of the angel, makes it clear to people who are ‘confronted’ with the sculpture, that the sculpture wants to convey solidarity with the victims of knife crime and make a powerful statement to everyone who sees the work: to make them afraid of carrying any weapons… We know there are moments in all our lives when stark choices need to be made to ensure we can still call ourselves disciples of Jesus; moments when we decide to wield the sword of division or on the contrary not to use that sword. Carrying knives is such a choice.
’It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword’ are quite shocking words that Jesus uses. When He does that, He wants to kick us into realising what following Him actually means. We have to put Him first, before anything else. As a consequence, divisions will occur accordingly, as people are forced to decide to be for Him or against Him. The same stark decisions some youngsters have to take whether to walk around with a knife or not. But as we know, the decisions to go towards Christ and not away from Him, will have their reward.
And then Jesus further mentions that anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it… How can we lose something, to find it? Sounds puzzling. It’s only when our efforts go into the good of others (like the Good Samaritan yesterday), rather than just for our own good, that we can better and enhance our life… away from violence, away from knives…. But back to Christ and His Church…