Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time, October 24
May the Presence of God Penetrate Our Entire Being, and May He Set Our Hearts Aflame with a Profoundly Intense and Unquenchable Love, a Love Which Can Only Be Fully Realized and Fulfilled in the Eternal Embrace of God, Himself.
We hear our Lord exclaim today, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”
And then He says, “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” – a statement referring to His own death, after which the Holy Spirit would be given to us, to remind us of all that our Lord had taught and all that God desires of us.
Several years ago, I took a course on evangelization, which focused on the different types of outreach approaches to those who, for whatever reason, have left our family of faith – individuals who no longer practice their faith or those who have left the Church for another belief system.
One of the topics that was covered is the division which takes place within the family environment when children decide to reject the faith in which they were raised. And when this happens, there can be great pain in the hearts of the parents, especially if they are parents whose lives may be deeply rooted in the faith which they truly live within their hearts.
There were many attendees who shared their own pain when speaking about how their son or daughter, when either in high school or college, decided to question everything they were taught, some even to the point of leaving the Church, some even to the point of denying the existence of God.
As a parent myself, I can identify with the anxieties these other parents were feeling, as can maybe many of you reading this today. No wonder Jesus said, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”
He knew that there would be divisions not only in the community and in His Church, but even within the intimate family structure itself. And I am sure that He probably shocked His own disciples when He declared that He would cast fire and cause division rather than peace upon the Earth!
One of the gifts which God gives to each of us is free will. We have the choice of either choosing to believe and accept the tenets of our faith, or we can choose to reject and ignore them. Fortunately, in many cases, our children, at some point in their lives, do decide to come full circle.
Some event during their lifetime, whether it be a wedding, baptism or maybe even death, begins the process of turning them around and bringing them back home to the faith in which they were raised.
All we can do, as parents, is pray for them and show them, by our holy example, how important the role of faith truly plays out in our daily lives. We do this not by confrontation, but rather by acts of love and kindness.
Let them see the Love of Jesus in us. And let our love become a natural part of that conversion process. For if we do otherwise, we may be standing in the way of allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts in His time.
As parents, when there is division within the household regarding matters of faith, it is oftentimes difficult to accept that we sometimes need to step aside and recognize that each person takes a different path towards God, one which the Spirit has specifically designed for them.
As each person is unique, so too is our journey. And we must believe that the Holy Spirit truly understands and is with each one of us, as we progress in our own way and in our gradual understanding and acceptance of the gift of faith offered to each of us as God’s children.
But we also recognize that there are many in the world who have chosen a dark path for themselves. Their use of the gift of free will has taken them far from their love for God, for their lives become focused on new gods – gods of materialistic pleasures, self-gratification in all forms of immorality, greed for financial success and power at the expense of someone else’s loss and pain!
Saint Paul, in our First Reading today, addresses these issues and calls them slavery to sin and lawlessness. And the consequences of such slavery? Paul writes about it and he “pulls no punches”; in other words, he does not diminish the consequences of such slavery, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
To place any relationship, or anything else for that matter, above God is a form of idolatry. And Jesus challenges his disciples and He challenges you and me to examine who it is we love first and foremost in our lives! A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for the sake of His Kingdom here on Earth.
And this is the point our Lord was making in today’s Gospel. Do we truly keep our eyes and our hearts focused on the only God who can truly answer our prayers – who truly knows and loves each one of us beyond all human reason? Do we have a love for Jesus that is “on fire” – a hunger and a thirst that is insatiable and unquenchable?
May the love we have for God, may the faith we have in His Love for us, and may the relationship we have with our Lord Jesus Christ consume each one of us, so that our lives may be transformed – so that we may truly desire nothing more in this life than spending our eternity with all our loved ones who have left this life in God’s Eternal Friendship – giving honor and glory to the God who has loved each of us infinitely from even before the beginning of time.
Jesus exclaims to His followers from the very depths of His Most Sacred and Merciful Heart, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”
May the Presence of God penetrate our entire being, and may He set our hearts aflame with a profoundly intense and unquenchable love –
– a love which can only be fully realized and fulfilled in the eternal embrace of God Himself! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49)
- “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50)
- “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51)
- “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness…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.” (Romans 6:20, 22)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
- “Jesus replied, ‘The first is this: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”’” (Mark 12:29-30)
- “Love the LORD, all you who are faithful to him.” (Psalm 31:24a)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
- “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- “Praise the God of heaven, for his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26)
Prayer for the Day
“I love You, O my God,
and my only desire is to love You
until the last breath of my life.
“I love You, O my infinitely lovable God,
and I would rather die loving You,
than live without loving You.
“I love You, Lord
and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally…
“My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You,
I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.”Saint John Marie Vianney (Holy Curé of Ars)