October 20, 2016
by Jan Schnack
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 476

Ephesians 3:14-21
Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
Luke 12:35-38

Praying Ordinary Time

In past reflections, I have expressed excitement when I find out the readings of the day that have been assigned to me to reflect on and write about.  That wasn’t the case with today’s readings, in particular the Gospel reading.  I reminded myself that from past experience there are consolations that come when struggling with Bible passages.

My normal reaction to Jesus when he conveys to his disciples that he didn’t come to establish peace on earth usually ends with confusion.  That doesn’t fit nicely into my picture of what I want to hear from Jesus.  I don’t want households to be divided.  Well of course Jesus didn’t want households to be divided either.  But he is aware that what he has come to do will lead to division.  Jesus came for all to reconnect communion with God that was lost with original sin.  While he came for all, not all will receive.  That caused division then and continues to cause division in our day.  When Jesus talks about setting the earth on fire, he is referring to the Holy Spirit being sent on Pentecost, ten days after the Ascension of Jesus.  All of us now have this great gift of receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism.  No wonder Jesus relayed to his disciples about his great anguish until this was accomplished! 

Those who have been baptized are called to continue the Mission of Jesus Christ to do what we can to help ourselves and others, on a daily basis, draw closer to God.  Sin is a constant in the world and the very nature of sin draws us away from God.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1472) reminds us that grave sin will deprive us of communion with God and other sins are the indication of unhealthy attachments.  The answer to how we are to continue the Mission of Jesus Christ is found in today’s readings in Ephesians 3:14-21:
Brothers and sisters:

I kneel before the Father,
From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
That he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
To be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
And that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
That you, rooted and grounded in love,
May have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
What is the breadth and length and height and depth,
And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
So that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
By the power at work within us,
To him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
To all generations, forever and ever, Amen

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the answer!  The Holy Spirit strengthens us!  I look to the examples of those that were the first ones to receive the Holy Spirit and how they changed the world.  It certainly wasn’t their power that this transformation took place.  The Holy Spirit of then is still the Holy Spirit of today.  “Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than we all ask or imagine.”  WOW!  This is real.  This can be us!  Today’s readings are now special for me and I pray that my reflection might provide you with some consolations.  Thank you Jesus.

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