October 23, 2008
Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 12: 49-53
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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for the fire of your love and the zeal for your service that you have set in my soul. Increase that flame so that I may serve only you and spread your fire.
Petition: Lord, help me to have the courage and the faith to spread your word.
1. Set the World on Fire
Christ tells his disciples, “I have come to set the world on fire.” The fire of Christ’s love radiates both heat and light. We should pray today and ask Christ to remove all desires which are not of him, so that his holy fire may burn away those attachments which keep us far from him. We should pray that his holy fire will enlighten our path and guide our way, and that we may spread that fire so that the world may be blazing with Christ’s love.
2. Christ’s Baptism
“There is a baptism with which I must be baptized.” Christ is calling us to be a part of his greater plan for love. Jesus shows us that the kind of love he is bringing to the world is not just one of feelings and nice words. Rather it requires a self-emptying, a dying to oneself, a baptism. The baptism Christ foretells is his own redemptive suffering for us on the Cross. It is the reason for his coming among us as a human being. It is an intense kind of love, a laying down of one’s life for the sake of another. Our love will burn with the fire of Christ’s love only when we too can die to ourselves for others in our daily lives.
3. Divided Lives
Thinking that there will be such division in our lives is hard to accept. What Christ is saying here is that there are those who will believe, follow Christ’s love, and set the world on fire. Then there are those who will not believe, or who will be lukewarm. We recall in the Book of Revelation, Christ declares to the Church in Laodicea: “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). We should fear lukewarmness more than possible divisions due to our living of the truth. Though there is division, the truth will always bring hope and joy and will set us free. We should spread that truth.
Conversation with Christ: I know that you have called me to be ablaze with the fire of your love and to spread your love throughout the world. Help me to answer that call. I want everyone to know what I know about you, Lord: to know the truth and to be set free by the power of your cross.
Resolution: I will be your fire, Lord, spreading with the wind of the Holy Spirit. I will speak the truth where it needs to be spoken, and I will reveal your love to those who do not know you. Today, I will speak to someone about my faith.
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