Different directions

Today, the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Gospel presented Jesus in a different manner than the typical one as He tells us that He has come not to bring peace but war.

In the Gospel according to Luke 12:49 and following: “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on, a household of five will be divided: Three against two and two against three; Father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.”

We can see here that Jesus came in our midst to disrupt our lives and shake us out of complacency.

We all have our differences, we have different experiences and prefer different types of music, food, fashion, rites and rituals.

The Gospel is teaching us that despite those differences in us, we should be faithful to God, to Jesus until the end of our lives. Let us be filled with zealousness, a strong and energetic desire to persevere in our faith until the end.

If you have the zeal, the willingness, the energy and the right motivation, then whatever happens, we will be able to survive all the hindrances in life. Zeal is often used in a religious sense, meaning devotion to God or another religious cause, like being a missionary.

The readings for this Sunday also tell us that discipleship can cause division, and that we will have people pulling us in different directions. In the first reading, we see a man being thrown in a cistern for speaking the truth, but finally a court official speaks up for him. In the second reading, Paul reminds us of all the opposition Jesus endured. And in the gospel, Jesus is saying that there will be divisions among us as we follow Him.

There are three main factors that affect our disposition in following Jesus, namely our relationships with other people who either support or oppose us in faith; the authenticity of the motivation we have in dealing with one another and peer pressure

Jesus reminds us that being faithful to God entails division. For truth is opposed to lies and deception; the spirit of charity is the opposite of a selfish spirit; justice is the opposite of injustice… and so on.

In the world and inside us, there is a mixture of good and bad, and we must take sides, must take an option, while being conscious that faithfulness is “uncomfortable.” It seems far easier to compromise, but it is certainly far less evangelical.

We would like to have “the Gospels” and “a Jesus” tailored to our individual taste and passions. Dear friends, Christian life is not just a simple “routine,” a matter of “just keep going,” without a constant desire for improvement and perfection. As Benedict XVI said, “Jesus Christ is not just a private conviction or an abstract idea, but a real person, whose becoming part of human history is capable of renewing the life of every man and woman.”

Jesus as the supreme model shows us how to be firm in faith and focus on our way to perfection. If we get our mind to stay put on Jesus, we shall never lose heart. His sacrifice represents the contrary to the spiritual lack of enthusiasm, which so often engulfs us.

Loyalty requires courage and ascetical fight. Sin and evil are constantly tempting us, and this is why a courageous fight and effort along with our participation in the Passion of Jesus Christ are a peremptory requirement. Hating sin is not easy. The kingdom of Heaven demands efforts, fight and violence upon us, and the violent take it by force.

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