A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Set the earth on fire

Our Lord’s first words in today’s Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) may be a little startling for some in the United States, with the national news being filled with the tragedy of the fires in California.

I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!

Our Lord, of course, is no pyromaniac: the fire of which he speaks is a fire within the heart of believers.

How I wish it were already blazing!

Today’s Gospel also ends on a startling note, especially for those who think of Christ primarily as the Prince of Peace.

Do you think that I have come
to establish peace on the earth?

No, I tell you, but rather division.

From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

On the other hand, this passage could also give fuel to the fire of atheists and others who denounce religion as a dangerous force in the world: fueling divisions among people that so often end in the shedding of blood.

That is nonsense, of course.

While it is true that religion has been involved in some of the blood and oppression in human history, most of the time it has only been used by ambitious men as pious propaganda to build or defend their own power and advance their own agendas.

It is also true that atheistic tyrants have systematically murdered more people, especially in the twentieth century, than tyrants who feigned piety.

The reality is that there is evil within the hearts of men that can use anything for its dark and selfish purposes.

True religion stands against evil, darkness, and selfishness. Therein lies the division of which our Lord speaks.

In a world of selfishness and evil, we as Christians must stand up for what is right and good, even if other people may disagree.

If we just sit back and mind our own business, we let the world slide further into darkness and destruction and we ignore the command of the Lord.

We must stand up, speak up, and take action with the truth and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.