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Deacon Marvin Threatt, Ph.D.

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.

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Aug 12, 2022

Jesus definitely called a spade a spade. The readings this week in Ezekiel emphasized how God took our unworthy actions and, out of love, pardon the things we had done. Thank God for His cleansing fire. P.S. Marvin: my brother was Terry Cross.


Deacon Threatt - This is a powerful witness. Now I have a better understanding of the "consuming fire" imagery.

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