Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Reflection for the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – A Blazing Fire

In today's Gospel, Jesus proclaims that He has come to set the world on fire and He wishes that “it were already blazing.”

What is this blazing fire that Jesus wants to kindle?

There is likely more than one answer, but Jesus doesn't give any, indicating, perhaps, that He wants us to reflect deeply on the question and come up with our own responses.

So let's brainstorm. This blazing fire could be God's love, which is often described in terms of fire. God's love could certainly set the world ablaze. It might also be the Holy Spirit, Who is God's Love in person. It may refer to faith or spiritual enthusiasm or salvation or justice. It could even refer to purification. Or, maybe, Jesus is talking about a combination of all of these and more. Whatever this fire is, He longs to light it in the world, and, as He hints by His next words, He will accomplish that by His suffering and death.

Friday – Interpretation

How well do we interpret the signs of the times? We listen today as Jesus chides His audience for their lack of attention to the spiritual environment around them. Although they are quite good at interpreting the weather, they are clueless about what really counts. They don't recognize Jesus for Who He is. They don't give any mind to the prophecies He fulfills. They don't care about the new order, the new life, He brings.

Doesn't this sound like the world today? People are very good at interpreting earthly things like the weather or business cycles or entertainment trends, but they are clueless about spiritual realities. They don't read the signs of the times. They don't recognize what God is doing. They fail to heed His warnings. They don't think about the consequences of their actions.

But there will be consequences. Many members of Jesus' original audience suffered when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. What will we suffer if we fail to interpret the signs of our times?

Saturday – Grow Up

Today Paul tells the Ephesians (and us) to grow up. “Living the truth in love,” we must grow in Christ so that we know our faith well and resist being swept away by every new wave of false teaching and doctrinal confusion.

If he were standing before us, Paul may indeed ask us how well we are doing with this. Do we make any effort at all to grow in our faith, to learn more about God and His plan of salvation? Do we study and pray the Scriptures? Do we delve into the richness of Church teachings? Do we read the writings of the saints? Do we take advantage of faith formation classes and study groups?

Or are we too busy? Does our faith take a back seat to everything else in our lives? Do we learn more about our jobs and our hobbies than about God? Do we even know how to respond when someone questions our faith?

It's time, then, for us to grow up, to learn the truth and to live it in love, to really know our faith and understand its rich beauty, and most of all, to come ever closer to God, Who longs to bring us to full maturity in Him.

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