18 August 2013

Set the World (and Our Hearts) on Fire

Today's Gospel Reading:
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.”

The first two things I thought of at this reading were (1) the lovely quotation from St. Catherine of Sienna:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” 
and (2)

just a very little bit.

Today's Gospel reading is all too appropriate for what is happening in the world today. The persecutionthe burning and attacking of churches and Christian institutionsin Egypt is front-page news. Dozens of buildings and thousands of people have been attacked in the last week. And while this is all occurring, our country's leader is saying little, our country's government is still providing the country with monetary aid.

I do not expect the world's actions to align with what I would do, but I think Christians need to be aware of how close our own country is coming to accepting these actions. Already religious freedom is being limited in grave matters like abortion, and while it is all advertised as supporting "choice," it is giving us no choice. No choice for hospitals and doctors forced to perform abortions; no choice for healthcare organizations forced to fund them (unless one wants to pay an extraordinary fine); no choice for young women who are now presented with only the encouragement and expectation of murder; no choice for men whose masculinity and rightful family leadership role is being taken from them in the name of "rights" they could never understand.

And as violence occurs on the other side of the world and our country soon forgetsif they even acknowledgeit, the same violence is all the sooner to happen in our own towns because of our ignorance and lack of action. Literal fires are being started and we are neglecting the nurturing of the fire of the Holy Spirit which should always engulf our hearts. We are forgetting the value of suffering, which is my only hope for all the attacks: that the suffering will create martyrs, that martyrs will inspire conversion, that conversion will strengthen the Church.

In his homily today, Father said that: "All must burn by fire until the only thing left standing is the cross of Jesus Christ." Our own fires must combat the aggressive fires of our adversaries. We must live our faith in a way which shows others the love of Christ, converts others to Catholicismthe one true Church of Christ, teaches and edifies Christians, and shows the world with unshakable certainty that Catholics are a force to be reckoned with. We must not be lukewarm in our faith. We must not back down when our liberties are limited. We must not turn a blind eye to our brothers and sisters who suffer. We must not be afraid when they revile and persecute us, as it says, "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven," for they did the same to Christ (we should expect nothing less), for He will be with us to the end of the age.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, and all the Saints of Heaven: pray for us.

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