TWENTIETH SUNDAY: Luke 12:49-53
Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “I have come to set fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already blazing! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” It is hard to understand what Jesus means because we are always experiencing and understanding the compassionate Jesus, who is always loving and forgiving. Jesus does not mean that He is a troublemaker, but Jesus says that discipleship demands lots of challenges and sacrifices.
If we are faithful in following Jesus, we will experience tensions and conflicts. There may be some conflicts and divisions we experience even with those closest to us. Even members of the same family may have different religious practices and opinions; these can cause divisions and confusion. These are all part of our Christian journeys. These are the challenges, which will help us to deepen our faith lives and to love Jesus more and to love our brothers and sisters.
Jesus’ talk about bringing fire on the earth is about His mission and it can be challenging to us. The fire Jesus is passionately longing to bring to this earth is not the physical fire or the fire of division but the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of joy, peace, goodness, understanding, and mercy. Jesus brings this fire to unite us rather than divide us. Jesus brings fire on earth not to destroy us but to bring new life to us. Jesus brought the fire of love, compassion, and forgiveness. We should have the same fire in our hearts. On the day of our Baptisms, we received the light of Christ in us; and we are called to keep it burning bright until we return to Jesus Christ. There is an old proverb, “He or She who is on fire cannot sit on a chair.” Let us carry the fire of the Holy Spirit wherever we go. As Christians, we should have fire to inflame people: to care, to serve, and to bless each other with all the gifts of faith.
Our Pope Francis is the fire of the Holy Spirit: The Pope is always on the side of the poor and suffering because the Pope really experienced poverty and suffering in his own life. By loving and serving the poor and suffering, he is becoming the real presence of Jesus in the modern world. The Pope’s humble and simple life brings a big surprise and difference to the world.
To live a catholic life and practice our faith is not very easy in today’s modern world. Sometimes, there are divisions in families between husbands, wives, and children, for renewal and for a better change to happen in families by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, there are divisions in communities for renewal and for a better change to happen in communities by the fire of the Holy Spirit. We should carry this fire everywhere and to everyone so that others can see Jesus Christ.
We are surrounded by the clouds of sins, divisions, and hatred everywhere; let us allow Jesus to come with His fire of love and compassion for us so that we are able to get rid of the burdens of our sins, which cling to us and prevent us from running the race that is before us. Our lives are like a marathon and life can sometimes be difficult and challenging, and we have to face the obstacles; however, if we believe in our dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best. Let us allow God to burn all kinds of distractions away so that we can run now and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus to attain the gold medal of eternal life!