Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I will strive to set a good spiritual example for my family and will invite someone who has strayed to consider coming back.
Father, I place myself in your presence. I firmly
believe in you and love you with all my heart. I entrust myself completely to your merciful but
demanding ways, knowing that you only seek to lead me home to heaven.
Lord, help me to ignite awareness of your love all around me.
1. The Spark That Must Become a Blaze:
Jesus' intensity and passion break out in radical expression in today's Gospel. He yearns
for a divine conflagration in the hearts of his disciples. Jesus endured a true baptism of
immersion, steeped in the pain of Golgotha, precisely so that our own baptism would not be a mere
ceremony. Rather he wanted our baptism to be a holy spark of divine life that, with care and
formation, would become a growing flame of authentic Christian holiness. Indeed, let us fan that
flame and never allow external pressures, or our own mediocrity, to extinguish it.
2. Peace, at Any Price?
Jesus corrects a
misperception in some of his listeners. Some no doubt expected him to usher in the messianic peace,
when the lion would lie down with the lamb (see Isaiah 11:6-9). No, the time for that peace will be
at history's end, when God's Kingdom is established in all its fullness. Till then, Christianity
will often find itself in conflict with the powers of the world. We want to be considered nice
people, yet our convictions will at times bring us conflict. May the spark of our soul be a
strong-enough flame to accept those moments and avoid the cheap peace of acquiescing with the
3. Put Up Your Dukes?
Should Catholics be people spoiling for a fight? Not if they want to be good Catholics!
Those who love fighting and arguing may very well find themselves in divided households, but not for
the reasons Jesus really means. Courtesy, gentleness, and the finer details of charity should
characterize the person who wants to be like Christ. These kinds of people seek to unite, not
divide. When they are dividers, it is because they have to be. They know when the point arrives that
if they bend any further, they'll break where flexibility would degenerate into infidelity. There
are tough, sad moments when being faithful to Christ means a head-on collision in a very important
relationship, such as the ones Jesus mentions. But when it's a question of where our first loyalty
lies, there is no debate. Christ must come first.
Lord, you are the center of my life. I thank you for
my family and pray that I will
never be a stumbling
block for their faith. Give me the wisdom to know when
to speak and when
to remain silent. Help me, so that
I will never compromise the Gospel, nor needlessly
alienate those whom you have sent me to serve.
I will strive to set a good spiritual example for my family and will
invite someone who has strayed to consider coming back.