Today’s Gospel: Luke 12, 49-53
Can you hear the passion in Jesus’s voice? He knows the fire is coming; he knows his suffering is imminent. There’s an urgency to his words, as if he were saying, “Be ready! It’s coming, and it’s big!”
His words about division are especially poignant today, when there are so many forces breaking up families and trying to fracture the Church. As I write this, the Synod on the Family is meeting in Rome. I pray that unity will be the outcome with no diminution of doctrine.
That’s the thing. Doctrine draws a line. You are either on one side of it, or the other. There’s not a demilitarized zone. You have to decide. You have to commit.
Jesus, in his person, drew a line. He was the line. His contemporaries either hungered for every word he said, no matter how difficult, or they were mortally offended by him and drew away, cursing.
That is the fire, that moment when you have to decide. If you remain in the fire with Jesus, the chaff will be burned away. You will be purified with him, through suffering.
Jesus was eager for the fire, so that he might suffer the fire to be united with us. He longed for us to be purified so that we could be with him. He loves us that much. When he says, “I wish the fire was already burning!” it is an expression of yearning, the way we yearn for a loved one to come home from a long journey.
What fires are burning around me that demand a commitment? Will I join hands with Jesus in the fire, or seek the unstable reward of hanging back at the safe edge?
Jesus, I’m afraid sometimes, but I long to take your hand and join you. Come, Lord Jesus, come to me in the fire.
Copyright 2016 Sheryl Collmer
Sheryl Collmer is the Director of Evangelization Outreach for TOBET, the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team in Irving, Texas. She is a speaker, blogger and endurance athlete. She loves being a daughter of the Church.