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I am a devotee who started to go to Saint Jude Church 7 years ago. I was attending my review classes for my Nursing Licensure Exam. For the duration o...
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 18 August Sunday

 

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Green, Pss IV

 

 

 

The Word

 

Jer 38,4-6.8-10 / Heb 12,1-4 / Lk 12,49-53

 

 

 

Jer 38,4-6.8-10

 

Then the princes said to the king, “This man ought to be put to death. He is weakening the resolve* of the soldiers left in this city and of all the people, by saying such things to them; he is not seeking the welfare of our people, but their ruin.” King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your hands,” for the king could do nothing with them. And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, in the court of the guard, letting him down by rope. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

 

The king happened to be sitting at the Gate of Benjamin, and Ebed-melech went there from the house of the king and said to him, “My lord king, these men have done wrong in all their treatment of Jeremiah the prophet, throwing him into the cistern. He will starve to death on the spot, for there is no more bread in the city.” Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Ethiopian: “Take three men with you, and get Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

 

 

 

Heb 12,1-4

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

 

 

 

 

 

Lk 12,49-53

 

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!

 

‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three, the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

 

 

 

In other words…

 

 

 

A woman said in a church meeting:  “My husband died some years ago. I lost my first born in an accident. At the age of 30, I became a single mom to a two-year-old girl. I was groping in the dark — that’s how I saw the Light.” A man listening to her blurted out: “The only light I can talk about is the one that comes from my health insurance. My family business collapsed, and my salary is not enough to support my family. We’ve sold our car, and our house could be next. I feel that God has betrayed me.”

 

Sometimes our faith in God and personal tragedies can be difficult to reconcile. The underlying assumption seems to be that in moments of helplessness, God should be able to help and rescue us; otherwise, what good is He to us?

 

Today’s gospel offers us no solace from life’s misery. The statement of Jesus that He has come to set the earth on fire and that His wish is that it were already blazing could mean nothing to those who have lost hope. It could even be used as a proof of the foolishness and absurdity of the notion that there is a Divine Being ruling over the entire universe and is in control of our lives. What for should we believe in Him if it means no peace but division, no love but hatred, and no protection from suffering? The One who is “destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel” (Lk 1:34), yet at the same time called the “Prince of Peace” (Is 9:5) is a figure of contradiction. His peace spells trouble for many of us.

 

Christian life is not the safest place to be, certainly not the most peaceful. We could lose sleep struggling to forgive our enemies, skip meals caring for the troubled, leave homes to go to a far-flung mission area, volunteer to teach poverty-stricken children, donate a portion of our salary to the poor, fight for the life of the unborn. The price of being a follower of the Lord is steeped with challenges and uncertainties.

 

Spiritual writer Michael Quoist said that “we do not have a before and an afterwards, but an infinity.” True, sufferings and pains are hard to bear. Nevertheless, seen in the context of infinity, they can strengthen our faith and deepen our hope. – Fr. Soysi Cellan, SVD