REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 21, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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!” Lk. 12:49-50
We are creatures of habit. We like familiar routines and often seek security from things we can control. The words of Jesus in our gospel reference today could be difficult to comprehend or understand. Not only did He say, “I have come to set the earth on fire…” He also desires that this fire be “blazing!” Fire is powerful. A blazing fire can purify the precious metal gold. When heated to a liquid state, the impurities rise to the surface for easy removal. Fire can also consume. When a blazing fire completes its burning, what’s left are only ashes.
The gospel of Jesus is not just a message of peace and joy. It is also a message of division and straggle. This is because he has come to separate darkness from light and as human being, we resist this separation most of the time. The cross of Jesus has the tendency to refine us by dividing flesh from spirit. The more we allow the fire of Jesus to cleanse us, the greater will our inheritance be at the end of time.
Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, wants us to understand that his peace will fill us if we decide to follow him and his ways. He wants us to understand that Christian discipleship is costly, it can even cause division in families. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the fire of God’s love to enlighten our minds to the truth of the kingdom. As we are faithful to Jesus in our daily prayers, reflections, and scripture reading, and as we participate in our Church’ liturgies and ministries, we will know the Spirit’s presence within us.
When we ponder these words from Jesus regarding His desire to “set the earth on fire,” we must first see this as His desire to purify our souls. Within our souls, there are many impurities that need to be removed if we are to become one with God, emitting His radiance and glory. This purification involves a process of allowing God to bring our sins to the surface so that they are seen and can be removed. But this is only possible if we allow the blazing fire of God’s purifying love to consume us.
Oftentimes in life, we are content with simply being mediocre in our faith journey. We pray, go to Mass on Sunday, and try to be good. But this is not the life our Lord wants for us. He wants a life that is radically consumed with the blazing fire of His love. He wants us to become so purified from our sin that He can become one with us, sending forth the radiance of His glory through our lives.
Reflect, today, upon this image of a blazing and purifying fire. Use the image of gold melting to the point that all impurities rise to the surface. Or use the image that Saint John of the Cross uses with the log. God wants so much more from you. He wants to transform you and use you in ways beyond your imagination. Do not be afraid to make the radical decision to allow the blazing and purifying fire of our Lord’s mercy to transform you. And don’t wait for this to start tomorrow, kindle that flame today.
Lord, You deeply desire to set my heart and soul on fire with the transforming mercy of Your love. Please give me the grace I need to permit You to kindle this fire of love in my heart so that it will truly become blazing and all-consuming. May this blaze ignite me in the inner depths of my heart so that You will shine brightly in my life, bringing forth the warmth of Your love into our world. Jesus, I trust in You.