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.”
Looking at ”fire” negatively, we could say that it is destructive for it could burn or reduce something into ashes; but positively it could refine and purify something, e.g. gold. While it is true that fire could be damaging, but likewise it could be beneficial.
In our Christian life, the proclamation of the gospel is like a ”fire”. While it is true that it could divide people especially when they rejected or misunderstood its message; but if people will listen to it, accept and allow its true message to penetrate their hearts and entire lives it could unite all.
Jesus said that he has come to bring fire upon the earth, and how he wishes it were already kindled (v.49). This connotes that the nature of his message is to purify and to cause people to distinguish falsehood from the truth. Through this message, our faith undergoes purification. By listening to the Gospel each moment it is proclaimed, our ignorance, doubt and erroneous beliefs will gradually be turned into proper knowledge, certainty and authentic faith. It is not enough that we know and believe something, what is more necessary is that we know and believe in what is right and true. We could be deceived in various ways even by those who claim to be proclaimers of the good news yet interpret them wrongly, i.e. ”false prophets”. Certainly, they would bring ”destructive and discordant fire”. Our faith will be purified only by the ”fire” brought about by authentic proclaimers and interpreters of the gospel message, i.e. authorized by the Church founded by Christ. What they bring about is ”refining and purifying fire”.