All sorts of things cause division. The first reading mentions how the two sons of Abraham are divided. One born of his wife Sarah, and the other of their slave Hagar. Both were sons of Abraham, yet they were divided as sheep are divided from goats. The story often is used as a description of nations formed. The son Isaac , and the on Ishmael : the patriarchs of Israel and Islam. They become great nations, and also rivals. Because they are divided. One free, another from a slave; yet in Christ equal in the eyes of the Father. Jesus does not preach a kingdom of Judea and a kingdom of Islam, to Jesus it is the kingdom of God.
Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian
had borne to Abraham
playing with her son Isaac;
so she demanded of Abraham:
“Drive out that slave and her son!
The odd thing about the division of the earth is that the division multiplies. From two sons, to two nations, to twelve tribes, to an abundance of kingdoms (each with its deity). Earth becomes divided, and so does heaven. Fractured and fragmented, a shredding of the glory of creation.
When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
The gospel reading Mt 8:28-34 also tells of a fragment of creation. As Jesus crosses the sea He and the disciples enter the land of the Gentiles and for the followers of the covenant it is a fearful place. To their eyes there is uncleanliness, and evil of an epic proportion. It is as if they had entered hell, and that hell was guarded by demons. Surprisingly Jesus conquered those demonic creatures, and that brings its own fear. Once an earthen vessel is shattered, it is difficult to assemble those shards together to make the vessel whole again. Yet that is the mission of Christ, to reunite creation and make it whole. The kingdom of God is at hand. A broken and divided world put back together, creation healed.
(if one travels to a potters studio they will often notice a wall with broken pottery scattered beneath it. That is what the potter does with pieces that do not meet expectations. Of course since they have already been fired, they can not be reassembled. God often scatters or shatters man when disobedient, but also reassembles him at the proper time. That’s the difference between God and man. Man can neither destroy or recreate Gods creation, though they often disagree. Nothing is impossible for God.)
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time