We like to think of Jesus bringing peace and joy, healing and inspiration as he traveled from village to village with his disciples. But at this point in Luke’s Gospel he is making his way to Jerusalem, where he knows what he will face, and his message has become very sobering. When we hear Jesus say that he has come to set the earth ablaze, setting parent against child and dividing households against each other, we find it very different to understand or to accept. Centuries before, Jeremiah set the earth on fire with his fiery preaching against injustice. Both find themselves persecuted by authorities. But divisive as their words are, God watches over them. Jeremiah is rescued. Jesus is raised from the dead.
We have an advantage that the disciples did not have at this time. We know that after the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in what was depicted as multiple tongues of fire. We know that the Holy Spirit aided the disciples in carrying out their mission, preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins and making disciples of all nations. We can imagine that the wisdom and fortitude they received allowed them to confront sin and evil, and that the purifying fire could cauterize the wounds they produced, allowing healing and reconciliation to begin. In baptism we have received the Holy Spirit as well, enabling us to carry on Jesus’ mission. We see, especially in this election year, our country is so divided. Issues like global warming, sexual identity, abortion, racism, immigration, gun violence, and war are all hot-button issues to discuss. We can grow weary and lose heart when we struggle to listen, be open to, and accepting of other thoughts. At the same time, we pray for the will and courage to stand up for what is right and good and holy, no matter what the consequences.
Love, Peace, Joy,
Thanks to everyone who came to the 10:00 AM Mass last weekend for the anointing of the sick for our Pastoral Associate, Fred Hang. Continue your prayers and support for him.
Just a reminder, The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not observed this year as a holy day of obligation because it falls on a Monday.