I HAVE COME TO BRING FIRE
Overwhelmed by the beauty and responsibility of his ministry and of the Christian life, the author of Ephesians prays that the riches of the Christian life may be found in those who believe. Then he gives thanks and praise to the heavenly Father. May this prayer also be ours.
Today our Lord confronts us with the question: How fiery is your love and your faith? Can our faith accept contradiction and ridicule without letting us be reduced to silence? Perhaps we are resigned to the evil in us and in the world and fail to stand up for what is right and good. If our love for the Lord and people is strong enough, we do not tolerate an easy peace that puts our conscience to sleep. Let the fire of the Spirit burn in us.
Lord our God,
you have set us free in Christ,
free from our selfishness,
free from shame and fear,
free for life and service.
God, accept our thanks for this free gift.
Give us the strength, day after day,
to grow in this liberty
and to help our little or large world
to attain the same freedom
from sin and its consequences:
from injustice, suffering, and oppression.
One day may we be completely free
in your eternal home,
through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: Ephesians 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.
Responsorial Psalm PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises. R.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. R.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. R.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine. R.
Alleluia Philippians 3:8-9
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 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.
In his prayer to the Father, Paul prays that the community be “strengthened…with power.” The power is that of the Holy Spirit. He prays that their hearts may be Christ’s dwelling place and that they be rooted and grounded in love. To the one who is able to accomplish far more than we imagine, he prays that our love and knowledge of Christ may ever more abound in order that the fullness, which is God himself, may be ours. May the God who is capable of realizing far more than we even imagine manifest his glory in the church and in Christ.
Paul’s prayer goes to the Father who shares his glory with the Son and the church. Our liturgical prayer is directed to the Father in and through his Son or the intercession of the saints. It is the Father who is the source of all good.
Our Gospel today reminds us that our faith can also be a source of division. The early church experienced sharp separations over the acceptance of the faith. It sometimes happens today, especially in the political field, that religion is used as a weapon. Our beliefs can be stated openly but always with civility. Our sincerity should never boil over into arrogance.
– Jesus, set your Church afire with the flame of a deep concern to bring your good news to all. May the gospel dialogue with the world and with its aspirations and needs, we pray:
– Jesus, give the warmth of your strength to all who have to pass through the fire of suffering, failure and discrimination and keep them from discouragement, we pray:
Jesus, light your fire again in the hearts of those whose faith has become lukewarm or who have lost the way to you, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
these gifts of bread and wine
are humble offerings
but they stand for all the love
of which we are capable.
Bring them to life and let them become
the living sign of your love for people,
your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him fill our banal words
with a spirit of loving service springing from the heart,
and our inept gestures of love for one another
with the wholeness and fullness
of the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
God, our Father,
your Son came to bring fire on earth;
he himself passed through the fire of life.
Make us realize, Lord, and accept
that we may not seek peace at any cost.
Give us the fire of your Spirit
that we may not seek security
in the self-contentment of the status quo,
but go and commit ourselves
like Jesus, your Son and our Lord. Amen!
Too often the fire of faith and love is easily extinguished in us. We are not heroes, or perhaps only rarely. It is easier to be left in peace. May God preserve us from a guilty peace and keep the fire of faith and love alive in us, and may God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!