Jesus said to the crowds, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Jesus is enthusiastic about fulfilling his Father’s mission for him. The word “fire” refers to Jesus’ energy and momentum to conduct his mission which is spreading the Good News. Jesus has called each of us to continue his mission of proclaiming and spreading the Good News of love and healing. It is important for us to pray for the gifts, courage, and zeal to continue Jesus’ mission to transform the world with the “fire” of his love.
Today’s gospel passage teaches us that Jesus’ Good news is prophetic and like most prophetic messages, not all will respond to it in a positive manner. Jesus came to bring love, unity, and peace not division but as the gospel suggests not all will embrace Jesus’ message and His message will cause division even among family members.
Jesus challenges us to ask ourselves what are we enthusiastic about? Our work sports our hobbies. Are we as passionate as Jesus about our calling to continue the mission of spreading the fire of the Good News of love, forgiveness, unity, and peace? Am I nonchalant and lukewarm about God’s personal call to me to spread the “fire” of the Kingdom to all? Do I fear what other people might think or say about me? Today, Lord, I ask you for the energy, zeal, and excitement to spread the “fire” of love and peace to all we meet and give us the grace to overcome our fears. (The thoughts for this reflection were adapted from Sacred Space. Sacred Space is a ministry of the Irish Jesuits https://www.sacredspace.ie/scripture/luke-1249-53-0)
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.