Today’s gospel reading boldly puts the challenge that faces this world on the spot. The world is so lukewarm and at points so cold that it has become for many of us to see it as just boring. Really! Boring! But, how is that?
In light of the dramatically upsetting and discouraging expressions and acts of hate that occur throughout the world today, we come to the realization that love has become just an empty word in many instances. These situations could bring discouragement and at some points the desire and temptation to resign and flee from the world. That is when Jesus’ words in today’s gospel resonate even louder in our ears: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”
But is not the world already on fire? Sure. But another kind of fire… Not the one Jesus Christ is longing for. The fire our Lord is longing for is the fire of true love that should blaze at every corner of the world and in every heart. For you and me that fire is our very identity and our way of life. For, as He said, people will know that we are His through and by the witness of our love for one another. As fire that consumes the sin of division, hate, lies and every kind of evil, love moves from being simple feeling to become a way of life; or to say the least, our very identity. This is because God is love and we are of God, we belong to him. Therefore, to live for us becomes nothing else but to love of the true love with which He loves us.
Undoubtedly, to love as God loved us in Jesus Christ is a challenge we are called to face at every step of our life. However, as Paul says, we have been given the Spirit of courage that will, while connecting us to God, make us turn to Him and call Him our Father. As we engage ourselves on the journey of trust in God whom we call our Father, we will find in today’s second reading food and expression of encouragement to “persevere in running the race that lies before us.” The so many spots of darkness that bring discouragement and despair in the world will turn, by the grace of God and our commitment, to opportunities given to us to reverse the course of things in the world, especially when we know and believe that the kingdom is at hand as the Lord said. The kingdom is at our reach. Time has come for you and me to be those witnesses Jesus is using to set the earth on fire; the fire of love that will help heal not only the wounds of hate and division but that will also be the foundation for the new earth and new heaven that Jesus came to restore. For this to be realized, we are called to accept martyrdom, to die to ourselves in order to let the Holy Spirit guide us, our words as well as our deeds. This means being true witnesses of the presence of Jesus in the world.
As we strive to respond to the call of discipleship by bearing witness to the fire of love that Jesus came to set in the world, let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.