Gospel: Lk 12:49-53
I have come to bring fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what anguish I feel until it is finished!
Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, in one house five 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 her mother-in-law.”
The English language has a lot of expressions involving the idea of cold and heat. For example, it speaks of someone being cold-blooded, cold-hearted, of giving someone the cold shoulder, etc. And these expressions all imply a lack of feeling or a lack of intensity. On the other hand, it speaks of someone being hot-blooded or hot-tempered or hot-headed etc. These expressions imply passion, excitement, etc.
Well, in today’s gospel reading Jesus leaves us no doubt about the purpose he has in coming among us. He tells us straight out: “I have come to bring fire upon the earth.” This fire of his is love, of course. And real, pure love admits of no half-measures. It necessarily refines and purifies all that is contrary to it: selfish concerns, petty pride, envy and jealousy. That is why, in a Semitic short-cut which presents us as an intended goal what is only an unintended consequence, he adds that he has come to bring division among people: some will accept his message of love, and some will reject it.
Our presence here today testifies that we are among those who accept it. Let us love, therefore, with all our hearts.