“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.” - Martin Luther King
Gospel text (Lk 12:49-53): Jesus said to his disciples, «I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled; but I have a baptism to undergo and what anguish I feel until it is over! Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, in one house five will be divided; three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law».
Today, the Gospel presents us Jesus as a person of great ambitions: «I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled!» (Lk 12:49). Jesus would like to see the fire of charity and virtue already burning. As if He would be referring to it in passing! He has to undergo a baptism, that is, the trial of the Cross, and He feels anguished until it is all over. It’s only natural, Jesus has plans, and He is in a hurry to see them accomplished. We could say He has a “Divine Impatience”. We also have ideas and projects, and we would also like to see them fulfilled straightaway. Time gets in the way. «What anguish I feel until it is over!» (Lk 12:50).
Now Jesus is saying that he is not bringing peace but discord. He is not keeping families together, but instead breaking them apart. This seems odd and wrong to us now. Many families are strengthened by their bond of religion. “The family that prays together, stays together.” But then Jesus was bringing a pretty radical idea into the world, and people who followed his lead were often persecuted. It was and is safer to keep to the staus quo. But God is calling us to follow, to do his will, and to put nothing before God in our lives. Not even family or serenity. It’s harder to put God before our families, before our jobs, before our friends, before our desires, but when God is first in our lives, the rest will fall into place.
Have great aspirations! Train your goals onward and upward! Seek your personal perfection, that of your family, that of your work, that of your deeds, that of the assignments you receive. The saints have always aspired to the highest goals. They have not been afraid to face efforts and stress. They have moved. Carry on, move, too! Remember St. Augustine's words: «If you say enough, you are lost. Go further, keep going. Don't stay in the same place, don't go back, don't go off the road. Who does not move forward, stops; who keeps thinking of the starting point, goes backwards; he who reneges goes off the road. It is better to limp along that way than to stride along some other route». And he adds: «If want to be what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have stopped. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing». Are you advancing or have you stopped? Implore the help of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Hope!