A reflection on the Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time,
August 18, 2013
By Judy Morss
What is the outcome of our faith decision to walk in the way of Jesus?
The Gospel reading for this day is taken from Luke 12:49-53. This reading is the continuation of the Gospel chapter we have been reading for the past few weeks. Jesus has already told his followers about the dangers of greed and how we must always be alert and responsive as servants of Jesus. We don't know when He will be returning, but we MUST be ready.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
A quick reading of this passage froze my heart and my senses!!! Jesus is here to be a source of division?? What can this possibly mean and how should I react to this teaching? Then I carefully reread what Jesus said and prayed over it. As usual, I called on the Holy Spirit for guidance. I remembered that often Fire is a symbol of God's presence and His love. So that led me to think that Jesus is wishing that the earth was ablaze with His love. What a beautiful thought. Then the question becomes, how can that happen?
As His followers we must help to make it happen. Jesus invites us to open ourselves to faith in Him. It is not enough to follow Him from a safe place with minimal commitment. Instead, Jesus must become first in our lives. Loyalty to Jesus is of greatest importance. If we have complete faith in Him and in His plan for us, then our life in the "real world" becomes not only bearable, but blessed. Faith is not easy. As Father Gillick, S.J. said, “It is hard to move outside the city-walls of our senses and the security of those walls; trusting, walking into the dark, going without knowing are tremendous violations of our present-day culture."
When we are outside of those walls and behave and move in ways that are not in sync with our highly secular world, we will surely encounter that division Jesus talks about. In spite of what is going on around us, even within our families and friends, we are called to embrace Jesus in faith. The faith-decision to walk in the ways of Jesus will help set the earth on fire with Jesus' love. I long to see the world blazing with His eternal love.
May we each be a blessing to one another.