Lk.12.49-53

 

We read in the Gospel today something of the extraordinary passion in the heart of Jesus as he lived upon the earth. He passionately brought about the Kingdom of God and we know that many lives were changed by his ministry. The one who surrenders his life to the Lord Jesus Christ can never be the same again.

 

Think of the fire that blazes and rages through bush land or forest. Whatever is in its path the fire will consume until all has been the burnt to a “crisp”. Nothing is left standing, depending on the extent of the damage whatever has fueled of the fire. The land looks bare. Once where there were trees and vegetation what remains are a few shrubs, charred wood and a grave memory of the terror of the fire that once swept through that land. Noticeably, however, after a few years, new life seems to sprout. There is a sense of revival and regeneration as seedlings sprout and begin to produce new life. The same insight can be observed after the eruption of a volcano. At first there is much devastation and loss. Yet after a few years the ground has become so fertile and new life can survive again.

 

Jesus uses the analogy of fire in today’s gospel to illustrate the power of his love for all people in all the earth. The fire he desires to bring is the fire of his love, a purifying fire, one that affects new life and the regeneration of our lives. The baptism of which he speaks of is the baptism of his death so that all may receive life and have it the full. As we proclaim in Mass the mystery of faith, dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus come in glory.

St Ignatius once noted the Incarnation as the day of fire. Another Church Father states that every time we eat the bread of the Eucharist we eat fire and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples seemingly as tongues of fire. Moses met the Lord God on the mountain amidst wind, and thunder fire and smoke, a theophany, manifestation of the glory of God. The Lord led the Israelites by a pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. St John of the Cross uses the analogy of fire consuming the wood as an illustration for us of the fire of God’s Love. Once consumed by the fire the wood becomes fire, so too with God. We are consumed into the love of God and become God’s. Hence, fire serves as a powerful image of God and the action of the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus said, “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing”. What is the “earth” in your life where the Lord needs to bring about the fire of his Spirit. The “earth” can be family affairs, work situations, struggles in life, habits of sin, etc.

 

Lord send the fire of your Spirit into my heart. Enflame me with a deep hunger for prayer and an enduring desire to do the Father’s will. Amen