August 14, 2022
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 be accomplished! Did 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… ”
In this gospel, Jesus is shocking! Jesus has a fire for accomplishing his mission and is single-minded in doing so. His very message is divisive because it calls others to a radical way of living—self-giving for the good of others. We must make a choice to follow him, to choose to speak God’s word and preach the values consistent with God’s reign. Divisions occur simply by being faithful to God’s message. This is the real shock value of the gospel: being a faithful disciple of Jesus will instigate a clash of values, of principles, of priorities. This choice can result in divisions, even within families, because all of us do not make the same choice to follow Jesus. (Living Liturgy, p.194)
“On the journey of life, we must make a choice. Our instincts, our selfishness, our pride will often suggest to us to follow them. It is an easier road. But Christ, His Church and our consciences suggest another way. To follow that road, we must say no to our natural instincts. It may be difficult and demand much effort, but that effort will bring with it a peace and contentment that money will not buy.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 589)
What difficult choices have you made to not follow an instinct but to follow Christ?
Lord Jesus, bless us this day, with the courage to follow you.
Lord Jesus, bless us this day, with willingness to forgive those who hurt us.
Lord Jesus, bless us this day, with the strength to care for the poor.
Lord Jesus, bless us this day, with the faith to live our convictions.