“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Jesus Christ brings the love of God to the world in a concrete, tangible way. God’s love is so overwhelming and so intense that it is like “a consuming fire.” In a spiritual sense, this fiery, powerful love purifies us and helps get rid of extraneous things that might distract from our true purpose as human persons: to know and love God and to make him known by loving others.
There is a clear contrast between living out the Gospel—Jesus’ way—and living out our own way. Jesus’ way is loving others; the world’s way is using others. Jesus’ way is self-sacrifice; the world’s way is self-interest.
Where do I see division rather than integration in my life? What parts of my daily routine witness to Jesus’ way of love and self-sacrifice? What parts of my daily routine conform to the world’s way of use and self-interest?
—Maggie Melchior is a convert to the Catholic faith. She currently serves as Coordinator of New Evangelization and Faith Formation for a parish in the Diocese of Green Bay.
“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers… And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
—Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, © 1965, The Abbey of Gethsemane, KY.Please share the Good Word with your friends!