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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

Reflection Of The Week

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"(Jesus) made demands on people
that challenged them
to the very heart of their being."
© Dianne Bergant CSS (on Luke 12:49-53)
Reflection  (Parish Newsletter)
Living the Gospel

Speaking a hard message
Today’s gospel reminds us that the message of Christianity is not always a popular one. Sometimes we are called upon to speak a hard message; a challenging message; a confronting message. The message of the gospel frequently confronts our popular culture and accepted social practice. It often contradicts the expedient decisions of our political leaders. There is a responsibility on us to speak the hard message of the gospel even at the risk of unpopularity and even in the face of threat. The Christian heroes of our time are those who call leaders to measure up to the demands of the gospel.

- Parish Newsletter
(Association of Catholic priests, Ireland)

Lighting a fire

Many well-off Christians are deeply attached to the status-quo that favours them, and consider it the main task of Christianity to help maintain law and order. They find it strange and wrong if Jesus seems to invite, not economic and social and conservatism, but a deep and radical transformation of society. “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already… Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

It’s not easy for us to accept Jesus as bringing fire, destined to destroy so much lying, violence and injustice. He wanted to radically transform the world, even at the cost of challenging and dividing people. Following Jesus isn’t a kind of fatalism, passive and resigned to the status quo, valuing tranquility above all else.

Christians should seek eagerly, creatively and in solidarity for a better world. But neither are they rebels motivated by resentment, who tear everything down and then replaces one dictatorship with another. Those who really listen to Jesus are moved by his passionate desire for completely changed world. True disciples have “revolution” in their heart, in the sense of wanting a more just society.

The world order so praised by the powerful is rather a disorder. We are far from giving food to all the hungry, or guaranteing everyone’s rights, or even eliminating wars and getting rid of nuclear arms. The revolution we need is deeper than merely economic reforms. It must transform people’s and nations’ consciences. What we want is a world “where competition, the struggle of individuals one against another, deception, cruelty and massacres no longer have a reason to exist” (H. Marcuse). Whoever follows Jesus wants the fire lit by him to burn brightly in this world. The main thing asked of Christians is that they be authentic. That would be the real revolution.