Father, I place myself in your
presence. I firmly believe in you and love you with all my heart. I entrust myself completely to
your merciful but demanding ways, knowing that you only seek to lead me home to
Lord, help me to ignite awareness of your love all
1. The Spark That Must Become a
Jesus' intensity and passion break out in
radical expression in today's Gospel. He yearns for a divine conflagration in the hearts of his
disciples. Jesus endured a true baptism of immersion, steeped in the pain of Golgotha, precisely so
that our own baptism would not be a mere ceremony. Rather he wanted our baptism to be a holy spark
of divine life that, with care and formation, would become a growing flame of authentic Christian
holiness. Indeed, let us fan that flame and never allow external pressures, or our own mediocrity,
to extinguish it.
2. Peace, at Any Price?
Jesus corrects a misperception in some of his listeners. Some no doubt
expected him to usher in the messianic peace, when the lion would lie down with the lamb (see Isaiah
11:6-9). No, the time for that peace will be at history's end, when God's Kingdom is established in
all its fullness. Till then, Christianity will often find itself in conflict with the powers of the
world. We want to be considered nice people, yet our convictions will at times bring us conflict.
May the spark of our soul be a strong-enough flame to accept those moments and avoid the cheap peace
of acquiescing with the world.
3. Put Up Your
Should Catholics be people spoiling for a
fight? Not if they want to be good Catholics! Those who love fighting and arguing may very well find
themselves in divided households, but not for the reasons Jesus really means. Courtesy, gentleness,
and the finer details of charity should characterize the person who wants to be like Christ. These
kinds of people seek to unite, not divide. When they are dividers, it is because they have to be.
They know when the point arrives that if they bend any further, they'll break ó where flexibility
would degenerate into infidelity. There are tough, sad moments when being faithful to Christ means a
head-on collision in a very important relationship, such as the ones Jesus mentions. But when it's a
question of where our first loyalty lies, there is no debate. Christ must come first.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, you are the center of my life. I thank you for
my family and pray
that I will
never be a stumbling
block for their faith. Give me the wisdom to know when
to speak and
when to remain
silent. Help me, so that
I will never compromise the Gospel, nor needlessly
alienate those whom
you have sent me to serve.
I will strive to set a good spiritual example for my family and will invite someone who has
strayed to consider coming back.