YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: The Fire that Burns, yet does not Consume.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.” *Luke 12:51-52*_
Going through the Gospel passage of today, one might become confused as to what Jesus really meant when he said he has come to cast fire on earth and bring division rather than peace. Isn’t Jesus’ statement in today’s Gospel passage a total contradiction of what he said in John 14, 27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
While attending a ceremony recently, the M.C was trying to introduce a certain person. He described him with all the sweet accolades anyone would wish for and ended by saying: “he is a friend of everybody, he has no enemies.” We all clapped for this person in excitement but someone sitting beside me refused to clap and when I looked at him, he noted: “one who has no enemies is not a good person. If he really has no enemies, then even the devil is his friend.” I got the message.
No matter how good you are, you cannot afford to be without enemies or at least, one enemy. No matter how peace-loving you are, you cannot make peace with everyone at every time otherwise you run the risk of compromising your core values. Indeed, the mere fact that you stand for God and uphold certain values already makes you a threat or even an enemy to so many people.
For us to really understand the fire and division Jesus is referring to in today’s Gospel passage, we have to return to the words of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:29-30 states: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.”
When you are passionate about the things of God; when your heart is set on fire for Christ and you want to live your life according to his precepts, there is no way everyone in the world will become friends with you. In fact, if you really want to serve God, certain relationships and friendships will suddenly die a natural death.
The story is told of a man who took his wife to be to see his parents. After exchanging pleasantries, he decided to announce the date of the wedding to his parents only to get the shocker of his life. His mother categorically stated that unless his fiancé becomes pregnant, there would be no marriage. He protested saying, they have been dating as Christians operating by the policy of no conjugal union till after marriage.
How was he now to meet such a requirement without committing sin? Will he suddenly dump the girl if she does not get pregnant immediately? Has pregnancy now replaced virginity as the ultimate standard for marriage? This is just an example of the fire Jesus is talking about; a fire that separates true Christians from Church goers. It is sad to say that our society has gone down so badly in terms of morality, so bad that what was once forbidden has become the law.
By going ahead to marry this girl, this man not only created a division between himself and his parents he also created enmity between his wife and his mother. True to the words of Jesus: “Henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three… mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Luke 12:52-53.
Are there family members who have stopped talking to you because of your Christian values and beliefs? Have you lost friendships or contracts because you refused to give accent to sin? Know this: there is no need trying to make peace with everyone. Make peace instead with your conscience and enjoy true freedom. The day of reckoning awaits us all.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, set me on fire for you, may I never give in to sin out of fear of anyone. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ephesians 3:2-12, Psalm (Isaiah) 12:2-6 and Luke 12:39-48).