XX Sunday of the time ordinary, year C

Posté par diaconos le 16 août 2019

From the Gospel according to Luke

I did not come to put the peace on earth, but rather the division

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Word of God

Jesus said to the crowds :  « I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled ! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth ? No, I tell you, but rather division ! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. » (Luke 12:49-53)

Homily  I have come to bring fire to the earth

« I have come to bring fire to the earth. « (Lk 12, 49) In saying this, Jesus thinks of his passion: he must be baptized with a baptism that will put him in anguish : « I must receive a baptism, and as it costs me to wait for it to be fulfilled » (Lk 12, 50.) Jesus must undergo his passion, like a baptism of blood, so that the Kingdom of God may come.

The baptism Jesus speaks of is his death. Both are the radical transition from one kind of life to another, a thousand times more beautiful. Jesus would already have given his life for those he loves.

God’s kingdom will come as a purifying fire to separate the righteous and sinners and will cause divisions in families between those who will welcome it as good news and those who will refuse it. The fire that Jesus came to bring to the earth is the fire of love, the fire of the Spirit. He is an image of God. This fire is light and comforting warmth and the people who let themselves be set ablaze by it will in turn communicate it.

This spiritual fire burned in the hearts of two disciples on the road to Emmaus : « Was not our heart burning in us, while he spoke to us on the road, and made us understand the Scriptures? « (Lk 24, 32)

Did I allow this fire to ignite me ? How can I say that I am helping to transmit it ? Jesus says that he did not come to bring peace into the world, but rather division : « Do you think I have come to bring peace into the world ? No, I’m telling you, but rather the division. «  (Lk 12, 51) There is a kind of peace that Jesus absolutely refuses, for example when we keep silent to have peace. There are clashes that are healthy because they bring the future, and peace that is unhealthy… Sometimes we prefer to keep quiet when we know it would be better to talk.

Are we not often cowards like King Zedekiah who does not dare to take a stand to defend Jeremiah ? (Jer 38, 5) On the contrary, the Ethiopian Ebed-Mélek dares to disagree! ( Jer 38:98-10) Do we dare to oppose others when what they have done is « wrong »? Or do we think it’s not our concern, that it’s their problem.

Does the Gospel remain for us a force for contesting ambiguities and betrayals, situations acquired through injustice and violence, or would we not have ignored it to have our peace of mind ?

Faith is a race of endurance that you have to run with your eyes fixed on Jesus. Have we compromised ourselves for Jesus Christ and his Gospel ? Let us be aware that we are not alone in struggling in the difficulties : those who have gone before us, « who have lived in faith, a huge crowd of witnesses, are there around us !

Let us consider the example of Jesus who endured, without shame, all the humiliations of sinners and who now reigns with God : then we will stand firm, resisting discouragement !
Michel Houyoux, permanent deacon

Additional information

One in five seniors lives in poverty

The number of seniors in our country is constantly increasing. With age come difficulties. Old age concerns us all! Either because we are already old, or because we will one day be old (and we must be prepared for it), or because relatives (parents, acquaintances…) are old. Finally, because the number of older people (and increasingly older) is constantly increasing in our country.

With age come difficulties, at different times and degrees for everyone. Among these, let us point out : altered physical and mental health (memory loss, dementia in some people) which, in addition to inconveniences for the person and those around them, leads to increased medical costs.  The question of housing : it may be necessary to adapt the housing to mobility problems (ramps, stairlift seats, adapted sanitary facilities,…). It is also sometimes necessary to consider moving or entering a nursing home.

Weakening of the social network : relatives of the same generation (spouse, family members, friends) die, the risk of social isolation increases, especially in the event of mobility problems.  Little by little, we feel threatened in our autonomy, our free will, even our dignity. When living in poverty, these difficulties are compounded

Fees increase, but not revenues! One senior in five lives on less than 1000 euros per month. How, in these conditions, can we live in decent housing, get medical care, move despite physical difficulties, have access to leisure and therefore to a social network ? Older women are particularly affected by poverty: their professional careers are more often incomplete than those of men. As a result, their pensions are lower.

Even among those with incomes above the poverty line, many seniors have to tighten their belts ! A change of perspective, we all have something to gain
Speed, productivity, entertainment, hyperactivity, the reign of appearance… The values of our society are at the opposite end of the scale to those of the elderly, who are often seen as « out of the box ». Care for the elderly, cost of ageing: they are often considered as a human and economic burden.

Except at the commercial level, because the wealthiest among them represent a « niche » that arouses interest through its purchasing power. What if we learned to appreciate these values: slowness, listening, experience and wisdom, transmission, volunteering, deepening of the inner life? Perhaps we would rediscover its flavour and importance in our fast-paced world.

External links to other sites

◊ Sermon : click here →  Sermon, Luke 12:49-52, Not Peace but Division

◊ Christioanity : click here → exegesis – What did Jesus mean by « not peace but division ? 

Lectio Reflection – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

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