Thursday – Twenty-ninth Week – OT1 (2)
Reading 1 (Eph 3:14-21):
Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel (Lk 12:49-53):
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
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.”
Written by: Fr. Tien M. Dinh, OP.
I. THEME: The importance of understanding God’s truth and love
Separation happens everywhere on earth: in family, community, society, nation, even between people and God. The main causes of separation are lacking of love and wrong understanding; the results of separation are hatredness, sufferings and war.
Today readings concentrate on how people can cure separation. In the first reading, St. Paul said people must feel God’s immense love for them through Christ in God’s mystery of salvation. In the Gospel, Jesus taught people that they must understand and live according to the truth and love.
1/ Reading I: God’s love exceeds human understanding.
1.1/ The expressions of God’s love: To help the Gentiles to understand how immense is God’s love for them, St. Paul thanked God and asked Him for his faithful to understand what they were lacking before they confess their faith in Christ and what they have after they proclaim their faith in Christ.
(1) God’s love is generally expressed through His creation and providence in the world, especially in the mystery of salvation. Because of Christ, everybody who believes in Christ can call God his Father and receive all necessary grace.
(2) God’s love is expressed through the Holy Spirit: Not only gave Christ for human beings, God also sent his Holy Spirit to help people to understand his teaching and to believe in him. St. Paul described the Holy Spirit’s role in the faithful’s life as follows: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self.” The Holy Spirit also strengthen the faithful so that they can overcome all obstacles of their life.
(3) God’s love is expressed through Christ’s love for people: St. Paul asked God for his faithful two things: Firstly, to have Christ dwelling in their heart by a strong faith. Secondly, to deeply root in Christ and to be firmly built in charity. With the presence of Christ in their mind, the faithful have power to fathom “the breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ’s love. With their firmly buillt in charity, the faithful recognized that Christ’s love surpasses knowledge. With both of them, the faithful “may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
1.2/ St. Paul’s love for the Church and the faithful: After understood God’s mystery of salvation and permeated with God’s love, St. Paul prayed and did all possible ways so that his faithful can also understand the mystery of salvation and be permeated with God’s love as he had. The mystery of salvation is only completed when all people understand and be permeated with God’s love. When this happens, there shall be no more division, separation and hatredness. Christ gave this mission to the Church and all her members have a duty as Paul to preach God’s love and to do all possible ways for this love in the heart of all people.
2/ Gospel: Living according to truth and love shall help people to have true peace.
2.1/ Jesus brought love and truth to this world: Jesus used the symbol of fire for his love and truth as he said to his disciples, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” Fire has at least three uses for:
(1) To light up: Jesus enlighten all people by his words;
(2) To purify: Living according to his word will purify people from all falsity and sins;
(3) To warm up: When people feel God’s love for them, they will get rid of all hatredness, division, and jealousy in order to love and to warm up others.
The fire which Jesus casts upon the earth and desires it to kindle up is God’s truth and love. If people would live according to this fire, they will have a happy life. Jesus continued, “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished.” The baptism which Jesus mentioned here is the baptism of blood, which is his Passion and Death. This baptism is only fulfilled when he dies upon the Cross to show the depth of his love for human beings.
2.2/ Did Jesus come to bring division? Jesus’ declaration causes a surprise to many people: “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Why the God of peace brings division, and not peace?
God’s peace is different with human peace, and God’s way to attain peace is different with human way to attain it. Human peace is not the true peace since it is based on human understanding; and war can break out anytime if there is a conflict of their understandings. God’s peace is based on the truth, and this truth is not changed; therefore, it is the true peace. God’s way to attain peace is not like human way. Jesus ascertained this, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27). God’s peace is only achieved when one recognizes the truth of the mystery of salvation and God’s love for human beings.
Since God’s truth is different with and above human understanding, so Jesus’ teachings will cause division: some believed in Jesus’ words as his apostles and disciples; some did not believe and oppose him as scribes and Pharisees. They found ways to kill Jesus and his disciples. Same thing happens when God’s words are sowed in a family: some will believe; some will not. The result is their division due to God’s words. If all members of a family believe in his words, then the family will truly have peace. No power can destroy this peace which is based on the truth.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Christ is the source of peace; he came to reconcile people with God and with one another. The understanding and the love which people have for Christ shall take away all of their differences, reconcile with one another and become one in Christ’s body.
– God’s peace is different with human peace. The true peace can only be achieved when we make an effort to look for the truth in God which are God’s plan of salvation and His love for us.
– Christ casted the fire of love and truth into the world and he wants this fire to blaze. To attain the true peace in family, community and all the earth, all of us must co-operate with God by preaching the Gospel and by bringing God’s love for all people.