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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18 (14b)
Hebrews 12:1-4
Luke 12:49-53

Jesus tells us that he comes to bring division, to set father against son and mother against daughter, and in-laws fighting.  The thing is, we don’t need Jesus help with this.  We can find enough to fight with family about without Jesus’ help.

So what is Jesus getting at?

Jesus’ goal is not division.  Jesus comes to bring us closer to God, to set our hearts on fire with faith.  This should bring peace and tranquility but Jesus knows it doesn’t for everyone.  It isn’t because what Jesus teaches is divisive in nature.  Jesus’ word brings division because not everyone accepts it.

Some people reject the very notion that there is a God.  Others accept that there is a God but they think they get to decide what is right and wrong rather than listening to what God says.

We come here today because we realize we need God in our lives.  We may not always be sure why.  We may not understand all that God says to us.  We may not have all the answers but we know our life is better when God is part of it.

We can come to church to find safe haven from the world we live in.  This is a start but we need to take what we receive from God and proclaim it to the world.

This is not easy because many people don’t want to hear God’s Word.  This is nothing new.  We see how Jeremiah was rejected and they planned for his death.

Why?  They claim that he is “demoralizing” the people, making them feel down.  This is because what they are doing is wrong and he is telling them so.  They had turned away from God proclaimed as good.  They also claim he was “not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.”  This is not true.  Jeremiah was interested in their welfare.  It’s the precise reason that he was preaching to them, because he knew they were doomed if they did not repent.

Even when they tried to kill him, Jeremiah persevered in proclaiming God’s Word.  He kept his eyes on the Lord and it brought division.

Jesus came to reveal God’s Word.  Many listened and became his disciples.  Many did not.  There were people who plotted to kill Jesus because they didn’t like what He was saying.

Jesus came “to set the earth on fire.”  This was not a destructive fire.  It is the “fire” of the Holy Spirit in which He speaks.

What does it mean to be on fire with the Holy Spirit?

Some might say it is about the way we worship.  Think of the churches were there is “rock” music and swaying of hands and bodies.  I believe the fire of the Holy Spirit is much deeper than that.  We need to be reverent in our worship but open to be touched by the Word we hear to have our hearts set on fire with energy and enthusiasm.

The Church’s mission is to proclaim the gospel.  If we want to do this we first need to both come to church for Mass and pray.  You come here to be rejuvenated in God’s Word.  Then, in turn, you are to take what you receive from the Lord and go out to the world.

This can be a problem because people don’t want to hear God’s Word.  Then remember St. Francis of Assisi’s words to “proclaim the gospel always, use words only when necessary.”  Proclaim the gospel by living it.

Then your witness can give others a reason to come here.  Then, we can work together to help them learn more.

It isn’t easy.  It wasn’t easy for Jeremiah.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Jesus but God will give us what we need to persevere and keep “our eyes fixed on Jesus.

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