Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" (Lk. 12: 49-53)
In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we see powerful and meaningful names for
Jesus as the Son of God. Isaiah says He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Almighty God, The Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
When we think of Jesus as The Prince of Peace, we often envision Him as One
who brings Peace and Understanding into our lives in a calm, reflective manner.
However, in the Gospel text in Luke this morning, Jesus rejects that sentiment.
He says, “Do not think I have come to bring peace on the earth, rather I have
come to cast a fire upon the earth; and Oh how I wish it was already burning”. I
have come to bring the peace of the Gospel of salvation, fueled by the fire of
the Holy Spirit. Know and understand, this fire of the Holy Spirit has the power
to burn away your sins, purify your mind and your heart, cleanse you from evil,
so you can live lives of justice and righteousness.
Jesus knows this message of salvation, allowing the Holy Spirit to work and
move within our hearts and minds purifying us, changing us will not be popular.
Some will accept this message, while many will reject it. Those who accept
this message, Jesus tells us, these will know true peace, true joy, and Divine
love. They will know and experience what is called the fruits of His Holy Spirit.
However, on the other hand, Jesus says, many will reject Him and His message,
and the rejection will be pervasive, extensive, and widespread, in some places
reaching epidemic proportions.
The truth of this is seen in so many ways and on so many levels in our society
today. On every hand, Jesus says we can expect to see division, divisiveness, and
outright rejection of His message of salvation. We can see it in our homes and
in our families. How many of us know of families and homes torn apart by
divisiveness and division? How many of us know families in which family
members are estranged from one another? How many of us know of homes
broken and dysfunctional because of divisiveness? If we are honest, our answer
is Yes, we know of such occurrences.
By the same token, while there is divisiveness in our personal and family lives,
we know and acknowledge there is much of the same in our communities, our
nation, and in our world.
Every day we witness the chasm of racial, economic, and social injustice widen
in our communities throughout the country. Every day we see a nation growing
more polarized and divided along political and racial lines, perhaps more so
then the economic fluctuations which seem to impact the entire nation
Additionally, on the larger world stage, in Europe, Africa, and Asia, we see
signs of this same spirit of division and divisiveness. In many places we see
nations at war with each other, consistently and blatantly rejecting the truth of
the gospel of peace Jesus offers and has come to give.
Considering all the pain, suffering, and turmoil caused by divisiveness, there is a
valid and legitimate reason to consider acceptance of the peace of salvation
won for us thru the suffering and death of Jesus, who sends the Holy Spirit, to
burn away our sins of selfishness and individualism. In St. Paul’s letter to the
Colossians when the Church there was struggling with divisiveness and division,
he tells them and us today, we have peace through the Blood of the Cross.
In the Gospel text today, Jesus affirms this truth. He is our peace! But it is
important to understand the parameters of this peace. To receive it. Each of
us must open our hearts, open our minds, and let the fire of the Holy Spirit burn
within us. Let it cleanse us and purify us. Then we will know and have peace.
Don’t misunderstand. Don’t get it twisted. The peace we all desire as Christians,
is that peace that surpasses all understanding and is that peace that only Christ
can give. We will only know this peace when we have gone through the fire.
When we have been burned by the fire of His Holy Spirit.
May the Church receive the Word today. Let the Church say, Amen
Author: Deacon Marvin Threatt, Ph.D. is a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of San Diego, California. He serves in Diaconal Ministry at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Diego. Deacon Doctor Threatt is a Retired High School Principal.