Impact of Jesus
Fire on the Earth -Luke 12:50.
About 50.000 years ago a 300,000 ton meteor stuck Arizona at about 30,000 MPH and left a 1000 ft square crater! It is believed that about half of the impactor’s bulk was vaporized during its descent through the atmosphere. Impact energy has been estimated at about 10 megatons ( equivalent to ten million tons of TNT}. The meteorite was mostly vaporized upon impact, leaving few remains in the crater.
When God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son on the earth it was an impact far greater than any meteor! When God sent His Incarnate word to Mary Jesus was no bigger than a tomato seed. Yet it was the greatest act of creation. Greater by far than all the galaxies! The impact of Christ is the wonder of the universe!
This explosive act of creation in Christ was the “fire” that Jesus referred to in today’s Gospel.
Jesus complained “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Lk 18:8 The fact that the Father has given us the most precious gift He could possibly give in His Only Begotten Son is the ultimate expression of His care for us! To accept this “fiery” explosion of Divine Love is the definitive and critical challenge of our lives! This is the fire of Christ which He wishes to impact us.
Scripture has many words to express the astonishment of God’s care for us. Words like wonder (Hebrew pālāʾ) and awesome ((yārēʾ) “Awesome (yārēʾ) in glorious deeds, doing wonders!” pālāʾ Ex 15:11 Job is given this wonderful advice: “stop and consider (bin) the wondrous (pala) works of God. Job 37:14
Throughout the New Testament again many words are used. A very frequent word for wonder in the Greek NT is thaumatzo “And the men marveled (thaumatzo) saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27) Another word often used is (ek-place’-so). It literally means a knockout! “they were astonished (ek-place’-so) at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.” Lk 4:32
Still another word is (existaemi). It is translated very well in English by our word ecstasy i.e. to stand outside of one’s self. “And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all startled (existaemi) and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mk 2:12
Without this startled ecstasy we will not really understand the impact of the fire God’s overwhelming love for us in Christ Who is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega of our lives!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.