Like the water we drink, some Gospel values are so obvious that we ignore them until pollution hits.  Then it is very often difficult to restore what has been lost.  Again and again Jesus taught us that unity among people is a cornerstone of his Gospel.  As we read in this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus pointed out that any group of people divided among themselves can never achieve success.  This is true of families, of communities, of nations, even of the Church itself.  Division is the direct opposite of Christianity.  The forces of evil make progress, by setting neighbours against neighbours, teenagers against parents, workers against management, sport followers against sport followers. When bitterness is countered with bitterness, it can only lead to additional bitterness.  When hatred is met with hatred, it sows the seeds of continuing hatred.  On and on it will go until someone somewhere decides to put an end to it.  This is what Jesus was talking about when he spoke of turning the other cheek.  He wasn’t speaking of weakness, he was speaking of wisdom.  He was appealing to us to have the courage to fight evil with good.  The Christian calling is to heal such rifts, to bring those who are alienated together, to build bridges of reconciliation. Jesus assures us that anyone who builds unity and peace in these ways is closer to him than even his own mother and family.  It is a strong way to put it, but he meant it.        Fr John