20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 18th August 2019

My dear People of God,
14th of July, 2019, a history making day. The day when England and New Zealand played
their finals of ICC cricket world cup match with lot of enthusiasm and zest to win the
title. Both the players gave their best. But, only one won the title at the end. As for
New Zealand it was a moment of distress and disappointment. The players cried and were
sad at the one more loss in the finals. Though the Umpire later said that he had made a mistake
in granting one extra run, it was too late for the Kiwis.
The Gospel of the day presents to us the similar situation. Jesus who is on his way to Jerusalem,
taught his disciples on various themes so as to prepare for the coming judgment. He
taught them to be concerned about their neighbour through the parable of Good Samaritan, to
be open to the teaching and give time for the word of God rather than spending time
in materialistic world and its affairs when he visited Martha and Mary, he advised his
disciples not to be like the rich fool who was only interested in accumulating more and
more wealth at the cost of other people’s suffering, struggle and poverty, he invited
the disciples to be watchful and awake keeping their lamp lit just like the watchful servant
whom his master served with happiness and contentment.
Jesus today makes a confusing and contradicting statement, “Do not think I have come to
bring peace on earth. No, I have rather come to set fire on earth. And, how I wish it were
already blazing!” Yes, the coming of Jesus though on the one hand is to bring peace and
salvation on earth and to all people, on the other hand it was a moment of distress and
disappointment. The teachings of Jesus from the beginning were focused on the conversion
that demanded a revolutionary action. An action that was aimed at change in life and attitude.
He invited all to be different when he said, “Do not think I have come to abolish the
law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” (Mt:5:17) He has
come to fulfil them in the way that the people had not known. He has accomplished it by being
caring for each and every person be it Jew or a gentile, male or female, well or sick.
He accomplished it with the act of charity when he showed mercy in abundance at the multiplication
of loaves and fish, his love for all kind of people even if they were the people who
sought to kill him. Jesus today asks of us the same while saying
I have come to set fire on earth. He has come to set the fire of distress on those who have
failed to accomplish the word of God and what has been demanded of us. We have been given
more and the more will be expected of us. Failing which will result in distress.
Let us now take our own life, how often are we ready to be at the service of the other
or our neighbour even when we know that they are in need of our help. Have we ever tried
to be different than other people who too claim to be the child of God or baptized Christians.
If all are children of God what is the difference between both? We have lot of time for the
party and celebrations; there is plenty of time available to be glued with the mobile
and the gadgets; have plenty of time to watch sports, games and movies; but, when comes
to the matter of helping the other and giving time for the other we are busy and have no
time, we become so busy at times thinking what we are busy with. This is how most of
our lives are lived out. Therefore, Jesus speaks strongly, that he is going to set fire
on earth and we will hardly have any time to save ourselves.
In the first reading the prophet Jeremiah was dropped into the dried well because he
spoke against the king and cautioned them against the coming punishment. He warned them
saying if they don’t leave the city and go to the place where God shows them they
all will be burnt, but there was hardly any who would listen to him. The whole city was
later burnt and the people were killed and taken into exile by the king of Babylon. All
that we need to do in order to be saved is to listen to His word and act accordingly.
Jesus told Martha that Mary has chosen a better part and that shall not be taken away from
her. Have we chosen a better part or are we still glued with the sentiments of family
and relatives even when we know that they are wrong? Yes, often, in our lives that’s
what happens, we listen to others and are carried away by impulse and sentiments; people
influence us wrongly to act against what is just and true. We feel at times that we are
too little to act or speak against someone or something that ultimately takes us away
from what has been reserved for us. Let us take Jesus as our perfect model as
the author of the letter to the Hebrews says and follow him in our lives. All of us, because
have got a price tag. The value of our action depends on the price tag. When our price tag
is Jesus the material world will massacre us and torture us but our value in the heavenly
world will be eternal kingdom. We need to take a call whether we want to be distressed
with the baptism of fire after which there won’t be any time to repent or to repair
out action or to be cautioned and change the way embracing all our neighbour and choosing
to do good even if everybody is wrong. The choice is yours…
God bless you all! Live Jesus!

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