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.”
Among the teachings of Jesus, certain teachings, I would like to reserve to the elites and today’s gospel message is one of this kind. Jesus is addressing to his disciples, who have decided to follow Him. They can understand this fire and division in a right perceptive, as narrated by Jesus to them. If you consider yourself as a member of this group, who follow Jesus, then, this message is for you. The baptism of Jesus and fire of love which destroys hatred and enmity.
The author of Water of Life, which is promised to the woman of the well of Jacob, will also bring us fire. Paradoxically, it is true. The fire of which Jesus speaks helps us to spread through everything, the fire of love, which destroys hatred and individualism, and opens us to divine mercy, la living water which nourishes life.
There are always two paths of life before us. One that leads to liberation, where we become in our freedom, voluntarily the slaves of God, free and pure men, who put themselves at the service of the people, to the salvation of the world. The other, which leads us to another kind of slavery that encloses us in ourselves, where we become slaves of personal freedom that excludes the other, where my joy and my peace takes the priority. There we are no longer free and our discernment is conditioned by this personal freedom that man seeks, a freedom from slavery.
Whatever the situation, man is called to discern and to make a good choice in life. The one who has chosen God, will choose eternal life and live by God, in God and for God. The other will choose death, choosing life for himself, destroying all the elements that build up his own life, shutting himself in, choosing everything that interests him and only of him.
Action of the day: Be happy to participate in the baptism of Christ.
«I have come to set the earth on fire»
+ Fr. Joan MARQUÉS i Suriñach
(Vilamarí, Girona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel presents us Jesus as a person of great ambitions: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12:49). Jesus would like to see the fire of charity and virtue already burning. As if He would be referring to it in passing! He has to undergo a baptism, that is, the trial of the Cross, and He feels anguished until it is all over. It’s only natural, Jesus has plans, and He is in a hurry to see them accomplished. We could say He has a “Divine Impatience.” We also have ideas and projects, and we would also like to see them fulfilled straightaway. Time gets in the way. “How great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (Lk 12:50).
It is the stress of life. It is the anxiety anyone with great projects feels. On the other hand, having no desires is like remaining at a standstill, dead, restrained; it is being sad, embittered, as being one who derives pleasure from reprehending those who actually work. People who are moving and cause others to move, who are progressing and cause others to progress, are ambitious people.
Have great aspirations! Train your goals onward and upward! Seek your personal perfection, that of your family, that of your work, that of your deeds, that of the assignments you receive. The saints have always aspired to the highest goals. They have not been afraid to face efforts and stress. They have moved. Carry on, move, too! Remember St. Augustine's words: “If, though, you say, “That’s enough, that’s the lot,” then you’ve even perished. Don’t stop on the road, don’t turn round and go back, don’t wander off the road. You stop, if you don’t forge ahead; you go back, if you turn back to what you have already left behind; you wander off the road, if you apostatize. The lame man on the road goes better than the sprinter off the road.” And he adds: “Always be dissatisfied with what you are, if you want to arrive at what you are not yet. Because wherever you are satisfied with yourself, there you have stuck. Always add some more, always keep on walking, always forge ahead.” Are you advancing or have you stopped? Implore the help of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Hope!