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(Unfinished) Business As Usual

I have come to bring fire to the earth
Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10; Psalm 40:2-4,18; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53

Sermon Week Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 12:49

Several years ago, a Gallup Poll reported that Americans are about equally divided on whether Jesus was fun-loving or somber. I wasn’t among those polled, but if anyone were to ask, I would answer that I love the weeping Jesus and the joyful Jesus, both. I for one believe God loves equally the saint who dances with joy and the saint who weeps over the sins of humanity. But for many people, there is no one so dull as a saint.

Yet consider the Apostles Peter and Paul setting out on their great adventure to evangelize the world for the Love of Christ. Consider the classic example of risk-taking, free-spirited devotion to the Cause of Christ portrayed in the life of Francis of Assisi. Consider the Christian champions of human dignity and justice and brotherhood down through the Ages. The true picture of Evangelism is that of high adventure. It's a daring thing to set out to conquer with love a hate-filled world.

For the serious Christian, not just religion but the whole of life is transformed from routine to adventure. There's a big difference between doing a job because you need the paycheck and doing a job because you are honestly interested in the work.

There's a big difference between studying to pass an exam and studying because you really want to know.

There's a big difference between saying "I love you" because it's expected and saying "I love you" because you cannot help but express what is in your heart.

In short, there is a big difference between coercion and freedom, between "ought-to-do" and "want-to-do.” And likewise, there's a big difference between an "ought to do" and a "want to do" religion.

"I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!" Jesus says to His disciples in today's Gospel Lesson (Lk. 12:49). Jesus came to light a fire in our hearts. Jesus came to melt our hardness-of-heart with the fire of God's Love. Jesus came to liberate us from our "playing it safe" religion. Jesus is inviting us now to [...]


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