The Fire of Division

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.
(Luke 12:51)

Even Jesus made a prophecy
That there will always be enmity
Among members of a family
In the absence of true Charity.

Jesus said: “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already blazing! There is 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 give 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)


Jesus was not referring to the fires of destruction that we read about in the Old Testament. He was prophesying first of all about His own baptism of fire that he would soon undergo in Calvary. Secondly, He was also foretelling the fire of the Holy Spirit that His disciples would receive on Pentecost so that they could also face their own trials of fire in their mission to spread the faith. Finally, Jesus was also making a prophecy about the fire of division that His followers would suffer even in their own families for the sake of the Gospel. In the Book of Matthew, He said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:37). This is clearly the case with missionaries and those who receive their vocations to the priesthood or religious life, when they leave their parents and take on vows of celibacy.

It is not only the clergy, however, but also the laity who experience the fire of the Holy Spirit in the transforming power of God’s Word. We read in Jeremiah 23:29: “Is not My Word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer shattering rocks?” The Gospel inspires us with the wisdom of Jesus Christ, and inflames our hearts with His love and great sacrifice. Spreading the Good news of His kingdom becomes an unquenchable passion, because we want to share this eternal treasure, fired up by a grateful heart.

The fire of our faith will meet opposition, of that we are certain. The enemy will muster his resources to put obstacles in our path, and even stir up intrigues and misunderstandings within our community. But in the end, even the fire of division will turn out to be one of purification, as long as we remain guided by the Gospel values of Jesus Christ, especially those of charity and humility. Many of us will have gained a stronger faith for it.

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.

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