Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 6:19-23; PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; Lk 12:49-53
Fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (tongues of fire rested on them – see Acts 2:3)
The fire of the Holy Spirit helps in two ways:
- To remove that which does not belong (that harms us).
- To engender an orientation of love and knowing the Lord with gifts of wisdom and fruits of kindness.
Baptism is a regenerative phase. An end to an old life and the start of a new life.
We always evaluate an event or experience:
- Partly to examine for itself.
- Partly to leverage it for future decisions.
- Was that a good movie?
- Did they enjoy the dinner I made them?
- Does he really love me?
Paul asks us to evaluate the past as well in particular the less than honorable things.
But what profit did you get then
from the things of which you are now ashamed?
For the end of those things is death.
Instead he encourages us to now present [yourself] as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God,
the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,
and its end is eternal life.
Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Alleluia Verse (Phil 3:8-9)
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
In today’s gospel portion Jesus lays out his two biggest promises in reverse order of how they are manifested.
In order of time:
- There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
- I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!
The first is his passion and resurrection.
The second is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
His purpose is to break through the unhealthy and unholy alliances we have created.
His purpose is to force us to refactor how we act and the ways in which we live.
Even the most closely held and cherished relationships need a divine makeover.
It is needed where they are based on the distortion of loyalty and fidelity (or even completely lacking these things).
Fire to burn away the unholy.
Baptism to start a new life in Christ.
Peace be with you,