Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reflection: Luke 12:49-53

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 12:49-53

Today’s Gospel is a bit sobering.  In his opening words, Jesus tells the disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”  He continues talking about the baptism with which he would be baptized and the anguish he would experience in this process.

Then Jesus asks his disciples a question: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.”  He then talks about households being divided and family members turning on each other.  What is the message Jesus is trying to convey to the disciples and to us?  Is he trying to open our minds and hearts to the reality of our world and the reality of our human condition?

In today’s world, every morning we see and hear multiple stories of division and violence: in families, cities and countries.  Perhaps the most frightening stories are the acts of violence and destruction that take place in our own cities, our own neighborhoods and perhaps within our own families.

What is the message Jesus is trying to convey to us?  Is he trying to frighten us?  Or is he simply hoping to awaken us?  Is Jesus trying to motivate us to live peacefully, lovingly, cooperatively and respectfully with each and every person on earth, even the individuals we may not like or agree with?

Now, take a moment and imagine a world where every single person was respected and honored simply because he or she is a human being whom God created in love.  You are one of those individuals and so am I. Every individual on earth was created from God’s loving heart.  And yet, we war upon one another with our words, our actions, and our violence.

Today I invite you to think of an individual with whom you struggle.  It may be someone who has hurt or angered you, or it might be a person you simply don’t like or one who grates on you.  Now, quiet yourself and imagine that person in your mind for a moment or two.  Then surround that individual with acceptance, peace and joy.  Hold this person in your mind for two or three minutes.

You have given this individual a loving gift today.  True, they may not consciously recognize what you have done.  However, their spirit will know that someone has gifted and graced them today.  Be alert and attentive!  Perhaps you will receive a similar gift!

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