Back on Sunday, August 18, Jesus said in the gospel he had come to set the earth on fire. He went on to say, “Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Today’s gospel seems to be similar to that gospel as Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me without hating father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
How challenging the call to follow Christ. The first commandment must be our primary focus – God! We ought to be on fire for God, who “loved us so much he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus is God’s gift to us. He puts a human face to the divine and calls us to do the same. We reflect the divine when we burn (on fire) with love for God and demonstrate it in our service to others.
The first part is to hear the call of Jesus. The second part is to give our lives entirely over to Jesus. If we hear the call and give our lives to the radical call of Jesus, it shouldn’t surprise us that it brings division, for many do not take the narrow path to salvation. Our family is very important, but even they must never supplant God’s primacy in our lives. May we take up the cross of Jesus, a cross of sacrifice, surrender and death to self – so that we can live for God and share in His redemptive mission as we serve others. Peace.
P.S. In two weeks we have our Ministry Fair. It is vital that every baptized person consider ways to connect and grow in faith. This Ministry Fair will offer a variety of ways to connect and grow – a variety of ways to serve – and I hope you entrust yourself to God’s grace and allow Him to move you to serve. We need you.