October 20, Thursday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Paul of the Cross, Priest
Daily readings: Ephesians 3:14-21 & Luke 12:49-53
The liturgy of the word today is an invitation to turn ourselves fully to God and to allow him to work in us. In the first reading, we have St. Paul’s earnest prayer for the Christians of Ephesus. It is a prayer that is so relevant for us too. He prays that we may become strengthened in the spirit and experience the length, breadth, height, and depth of God’s surpassing love.
God’s love is immeasurable. Paul prays that we may experience the love of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge, to be filled with the fullness of God. Let us make this beautiful prayer of St. Paul our very own. I do not think that we can ever wish for anything better than to be filled with the love of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks about bringing fire upon the earth and division on account of following him. Jesus, the prince of peace, surprises us when he says he has come not to bring peace but division. There is already so much division in the world today, and we might ask why Jesus is promising us more of it. But what does Jesus mean?
A careful reading of the passage shows that Jesus is setting the stage for his ministry, which will culminate in his passion and death, which he refers to often as his baptism by fire. But his passion or baptism is like a cleansing fire that will burn up sin and lead us to our salvation. Like our own baptism, this fire is cleansing, a purifying baptism. It has rich promises inherent in it.
Jesus reminds us that the gospel message and our resolve to follow him will not leave us as before. Following him will not be easy, mainly because the gospel will not always bring peace. The gospel’s effects can create division. Following Jesus can put us in conflict with other people, even the people we love the most. Families can be torn apart when the gospel is accepted because it challenges and changes everything. It is said that today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion, and in many parts of the world, embracing the Christian faith entails a lot of hardships.
But the Lord also reassures us that he is with us to the end of times. We need wisdom and courage to stay true to our faith and follow Jesus, even when that means going through hard times. We need to know that God is at work and that he will walk before us as our Good Shepherd and lead us to the Father.
Does my faith make a real difference to the kind of person I am and the kind of life I live?
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.