Scripture: 1st Reading: Rom6,19-23; Resp. Psalm: Ps1,1-4,6; Gosp. Accl.: Phil3,8-9; Gospel: Lk12,49-53
The word is powerful. It cuts finely like double-edged sword. At the hearing of the word, a decision has to be made: to accept, reject or remain indifferent. Those who accept the word will live the full implications of the word. Some will live it tepidly and without any serious commitment; others will live the implications in a radical way.
Those who reject the word might eventually become sworn enemies of the word, seeking with all their strength to annihilate the word and prevent it from taking root in people's hearts. They might even put to death some of the faithful and radical disciples of the word.
This is why our Lord today said He had come to bring fire on earth. At the presence of the message He brought, each man who hears would make a decision. That decision would set the person up as a sign of contradiction, one whose life becomes a template to evaluate the lives of others, one who sets himself up as moral compass that the people looked up to.
The radical commitment to the word would definitely bring about great opposition from those who want to have nothing to do with the word. These could be from outside one's acquaintances. But paradoxically, those who oppose the word might also come from one's own kindred and family. Radical commitment to the word would therefore bring about division.
The fire that our Lord refers to is the purifying power of the word and the message that He brought. Just as one cannot remain indifferent in the presence of fire, likewise can one not remain indifferent and uncommitted when he hears the word and message of Jesus.
The baptism He mentioned is a reference to the fate and terrible catastrophe that awaited Him in Jerusalem, His sufferings and eventual death. He would face all these oppositions resolutely and without turning back.
The point our Lord makes today is the fact that the believer has a duty of uncompromising obedience to the word and message of Jesus. The believer's desire for peace with others must never be at the cost of bearing witness to the gospel. For our Lord, it is not a peace at all cost that turns a blind eye on the full implications of living authentic discipleship.
There can be no genuine and authentic peace if one compromises the gospel of the Lord. This is why mother-in-law would turn against daughter-in-law, father against son, mother against daughter. Radical discipleship would not permit any sitting on the fence: everyone who is thus radically committed would need to make a choice: to be or not to be for the Lord.
To be this radically committed, we need to sit daily at the feet of the Master to learn the word of life from His mouth. We need also to constantly yield our bodies to righteousness for sanctification. To achieve radical discipleship, we must never be slaves of sin. This is because sin and shameful deeds lead to death. When the believer yields to God, his life is sanctified and eternal life becomes his reward.
Let us pray: At the presence of your word of life, O Lord, we cannot remain indifferent or non committal. Lead us by the light of your word. Let it be our guide. May the word enrich our inner lives and lead us to radical commitment to you, the source of our being. Strengthen us to remain steadfast in spite of the sure opposition that the world would mount against the spread of your word. Amen
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.