“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on
The startling message in today's gospel might be easier for our hearts to accept if we could imagine ourselves on the scene with Jesus. I can picture myself as a follower of his, journeying with Jesus for all of these months as he has traveled from town to town, teaching and healing and spreading his message of love, forgiveness and generosity. He ministers not to the rich and powerful, but to us - the poorest outcasts and those people considered the dregs of society, those without hope. He has taken us, his closest friends, with him on this journey and tried to show us over and over again what self-giving love really is. I'm not sure why but we never seem to quite get it and we bicker among ourselves about securing the best place in the Kingdom.
He tries to reassure us of the Father's love but I worry -- all of us worry -- about so many things and are afraid. The closer I get to Jerusalem, the stronger his message seems to be, the more challenging to the authorities -- and the more timid and fearful I grow. I just wanted to hear about love and comfort. I don't want to hear about the cup that is waiting for him or the sufferings that are ahead. I want to follow him ... but can't I just watch from a little distance?
Then I hear him say that he comes to bring division into families
and I quake with more fear. My family already has enough problems.
Do I need Jesus dividing it more? But I look into his face as he
speaks and see the passion and fire in his eyes and I realize that
fire burns there for me. The knot in my stomach dissolves
and my fear shreds like an old cloak I have wrapped myself in for
Be with me, Jesus and give me the strength and fire of your heart. When I take the time to listen, my heart longs to answer the call I hear in your radical words. Now, more than ever, I need courage - your courage. Let me humbly serve you by spreading the fire of your words throughout the earth. I tremble in fear but then I remember- you will be with me always.
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