Luke 12: 49-53
Eph 3:14-21/ Ps 33:1-2, 4-5,11-12,18-19
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
Don’t be afraid to face the fires
Of life’s trials and tribulation,
Trust in God’s plan, this He requires
For our spiritual formation.
Jesus said: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already blazing! But I have a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For 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 father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
We find many accounts in the Bible when fire fell from heaven. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone in the book of Genesis, 19:24-25. Moses called down fire from heaven as one of the ten plagues against the obstinacy of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:3). The prophet Elijah also called down fire from heaven that destroyed the soldiers of King Ahaziah whom he sent to fetch Elijah (2 Kings 1:9-17). But Jesus was not talking about the Old Testament kind of destructive fire. Our Lord was simply conditioning His disciples about the baptism of fire that He would soon undergo, and which they too would have to follow. However, they would also be given the fire of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost so that they could persevere in their mission to spread the faith. Perhaps Jesus was also making a prophecy about the fire of division that His Church would undergo in the future generations.
The early Church was almost divided between the camps of Sts. Peter and Paul, due to the question of applying Judaic laws to the gentile converts. Then came the breaking away of the Eastern Orthodox Church from Rome. This was followed by the fire of Protestantism that split Christendom in Medieval Europe. Even in the present age, the Church continues to be rocked by the so-called liberation theology advocated by some members of the church hierarchy, and the disobedience of Catholic Masons. During the necrological services for a friend one afternoon, the officiating priest bluntly acknowledged in his homily that he was a Mason and started to defend his brotherhood against excommunication, much to the dismay of the conservative Catholics present.
Our own Brotherhood was not spared from this fire of divisiveness. Four years ago, misunderstandings between the past chapter head and the incumbent arose, and the chapter’s unit leaders took sides, some with the old and others with the new. The national leadership came and tried to mediate between the two groups. However, since both sides had hardened their positions, the national president discerned that perhaps the time had come for the chapter to split into two. As a result, the fire of division led to the multiplication of members, as the spirit of evangelization was rekindled in both chapters. God truly works in wonders His plans to accomplish.
Dear God, may the fire of the Holy Spirit transform us and fill us with boldness, that we may enkindle Your message of salvation in the hearts of other people. Amen.