Saturday, August 18, 2007
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C
JEREMIAH 38:4-6, 8-10
"This man ought to be put to death," the princes said to the king; "he
demoralizes the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the
people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the
welfare of our people, but in their ruin." King Zedekiah answered: "He
is in your power"; for the king could do nothing with them. And so
they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah,
which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes.
There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into
the mud and Ebed-melech went there from the palace and said to him,
"My lord king, these men have been at fault in all they have done to
the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of
famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city." Then the
king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him,
and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily
entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for
us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider
him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not
grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not
yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
"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."
What does fire symbolize? In present-day thinking, fire symbolizes
violence or passion, but also love in the highest form. We speak of
burning hatred, the heat of passion, the consuming desire, and the
fire of undying love.
Yet, to understand what our Lord meant in today's Gospel, it is
necessary to know what fire symbolizes in the mind of those who wrote
the Scriptures. In the Scriptures, fire is a symbol of divine
presence, e.g. the burning bush in the Book of Exodus, when God spoke
Often we find in the prophetic books the divine presence is that of
judgment and chastisement. But "God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through
him." So, when Jesus says in today's Gospel: "I have come to bring
fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already." It cannot
mean the fire of judgment and chastisement.
There is another symbolic meaning of fire in the Scripture, and that
is cleansing, purification, transformation into new creature, a son of
God sharing his own divine Sonship. This is what John the Baptist
prophesied of him. He will baptize you, that is immerse you in the
Holy Spirit and fire.
The fire with which we must be aflame is the very fire, which was
burning in the heart of Christ; it is a fire, which is not of this
world, a fire, which comes from God. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit
of love in whom we have all been baptized.
Inasmuch as we want to light up on earth with the fire of love, to
bring about a revolution of mentalities and structures, then we are
driven to the same baptism as that of Jesus, we must in his footsteps
go through the anguish of dispossession and failure, consent to give
our lives for the sake of the ideal we have chosen.
That is one reason God permits the many difficulties, divisions,
differences and disagreement. Jesus tells us in today's Good News that
he did not come to present peace to us on a silver platter, but that
difficulties would be the price of peace. Peace demands struggle. The
individual, who seeks peace, must struggle against his own
inclinations. The family seeking peace must give up - painfully -
individual likes and dislikes to attain it. The family of God, the
Church, in its search for peace, must go through many differences and
disagreements. All these are part of God's plan to shake us out of the
drowsy condition that could lead us to spiritual death.
The life and death of Jesus have produced a decisive division in the
world. In order to be his disciple, following his example, one must
have the courage to affirm the truth he believes, and the heroism to
face the most violent contradictions, outside and inside the Church.
Do we not all too often mix with the Gospel teachings many personal
motivations, which are far from being perfectly pure? God ask of us
that we be true witnesses of Christ, and him alone.
His coming would inevitably mean division; in point of fact it did.
Over and over again a person has to decide whether he loves his near
and dear ones better or Christ more. The essence of Christianity is
that loyalty to Christ has to take precedence over the dearest
loyalties of this earth. One must be prepared to count all things but
loss for the excellence of Jesus Christ.
How does Jesus do that? By the preaching of the Good News - "Were our
hearts not on fire, when he spoke to us?" - and by the Eucharist, our
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Ernesto, Feliciana, Dennis, Aileen
- Damaso Guevara
- Tom Diokno
... for the personal intentions of:
- Jose Rigor, Rogelio, Nerissa and Maria Fatima
- Guevara Family
- San Juan de Dios Hospital
... In Thanksgiving: Bonsol family
... Birthday: Mrs. Claire V. Pamute
... for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Maria, Candido, Alipio, Alfonso, Alfonsa, Jovita, Isidora
- Ernesto Guevara
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Elena Acero
- Birthday: Elena Ang Acero
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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