Scott and Kimberly Hahn are an American couple who converted to the Catholic Church and who, in 1993, published a moving account of their spiritual odyssey in a book entitled Rome Sweet Home—Our Journey to Catholicism. Before converting, they were both active in the ministry as evangelicals, meaning they both had taken academic degrees in theology and were very committed Christians. Slowly they began to question the foundations of the Protestant creed. Scott was the first to convert to Catholicism, with Kimberly following suit sometime afterward. And during that interval, when the husband was a Catholic, they suffered tremendously from their division.
Division in Families
In this connection, here are a few sentences shared from their book. Scott says:
“Close friends became distant. Family members grew silent and turned away… I was made to feel like a leper… Meanwhile, Kimberly and I were sailing through even rougher waters. Days and weeks would pass without us sharing anything spiritual. She was anything but eager to hear from me about the benefits of daily Mass and meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. As my spiritual life surged forward, my marriage tumbled backwards. What made it especially painful was our recently shared such a rich time of ministering together. I found myself wondering. Will it ever be the way it was? Will our marriage ever survive this period of trial and agony? Most attempts to deal forthrightly with our differences would end in grief and frustration.”
Fortunately for these two, Scott’s wife eventually converted, and their unity as a couple was even more profound than before. However, we can see from their testimony that, for a while, their respective religious options divided them sharply. As for their evangelical friends, most of them broke away from them permanently.
Jesus’s Sad Prediction
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus refers to precisely such a contingency with perfect honesty and realism when He sadly predicts what His message and His person will inevitably produce, among other things, the division between relatives and friends. He says, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace… but rather division? From now on, a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.” In reflecting upon Luke’s Gospel and the personal journey of Scott and Kimberly Hahn, we find a powerful testament to the transformative nature of faith and its potential to both unite and divide. In the Gospel passage, Jesus reminds us that the pursuit of truth and a deep relationship with God can sometimes lead to divisions within our families and friendships. As individuals grapple with their beliefs and spiritual paths, tensions may arise, and bonds may be strained.
Jesus’ strong words are not about inciting conflict but about the cost of discipleship. The critical point for us today is the same as for St. Luke’s community members: following Christ and his teachings requires complete and unwavering commitment. The challenge is where we stand. To what do we give priority? – To Jesus and thus to truth, or our safety, the goodwill and support of the people around?
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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.
Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.