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.
We must be bold to face the fires
Of life’s trials and tribulation,
This much from us our faith requires
For our own purification.
(Jesus said to His disciples,) “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish 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 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, a mother against a daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a 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 which killed the soldiers of King Ahaziah whom he had 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 be given the fire of the Holy Spirit first on Pentecost so that they could persevere in their trials of fire in their mission to spread the faith. Perhaps Jesus was also making a prophecy about the fires 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. But in spite of all these conflicts within the Church, we still believe that in the end, God will use them for a greater good (Rom.8:28). After all, we have seen how the internal conflict in our Brotherhood two years ago led to the division of our Chapter into two, and the lesser numbers only stoked the fire of evangelization.
One of the blessings that we always thank God for is sparing our large family from this fire of division. Our parents (bless their souls) made sure that all of their eleven children and their families would always be close and in good terms with everyone. They helped us build our homes inside one large compound adjacent to a good school where most of our children (36 in all) could study up to high school. True to their vision, all of the cousins have grown up close to each other, (none of them was ever bullied in school) and we, their parents will always be grateful to the Lord 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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