Fr. Mike’s Homily for Thursday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I


Fr. Mike’s Homily for Thursday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The peace that Jesus gives

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Homily for Thursday October 21 2021

Thursday – Week 29
October 21, 2021
Lk 12:49-53

“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.”

Fire. Baptism. Division. These are the three points mentioned by Jesus in the Gospel today. Definitely these are not only intriguing but disturbing as well.

First, He declares that His mission is to cast fire on the earth and hopes it goes on ardently burning. Fire is a necessary element in human existence. It provides a source of warmth, protection from dangerous beasts, a way to create tools and implements for livelihood and defense, and a method for cooking food. Fire has spiritual significance as well. In the Old Testament, fire is a symbol of God’s powerful presence. Moses conversed with God at the burning bush. On their long journey to the promised Land, the Israelites were accompanied at night by a pillar of fire in the desert. And on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles as tongues of fire.

This, then, is what Jesus has come to cast on earth: the fire of God. And this is love. The image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus should remind us of this. His heart is ablaze with the flame of love for all of sinful humanity. It is this fire that truly transforms. The Holy Spirit transformed the apostles into ardent and zealous heralds of the Gospel. Jesus wishes also that this fire of love burns intensely in our hearts. And so He gives the new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” When faithfully followed, this is the key towards the total transformation of the world, the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.

Secondly, the Lord mentions something about His baptism: “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” Jesus was already baptized by St. John the Baptist at the Jordan. What baptism is He still asking for? Actually, that baptism by John can be considered as a prelude to the baptism He is preparing Himself to receive: His horrifying suffering and death on the cross. That is what fills Him with deep anguish. Yet He has to undergo this baptism of His passion. This is His way of manifesting His burning love and obedience to the heavenly Father. This, too, is the key to His resurrection and final victory.

And the third statement of Jesus is about peace. But He said he has come to establish, not peace, but division. This seems a contradiction to His Person and to all His teachings. He is the King of Peace. And He taught at length about reconciliation, unity and love that will bring about peace. At the Last Supper, He imparted to His disciples the gift of peace. And at His post-resurrection appearances, His greeting is always “Peace be with you!”

Then, why is He talking about division? This is because the peace that he gives is not the peace that the world knows. Rather, it is a peace that demands radical commitment to the values of the Gospel and complete fidelity to God. Hence, it causes division among peoples and families. It is the peace that is the fruit of self-sacrificing love, the ‘fire’ and ‘baptism’ He talks about. It is the peace that disturbs the peace in the world that is superficial and fragile.

That is why, because of this, He repeatedly warns His disciples: they will be brought before rulers and governors, they will be flogged and jailed and finally be put to death. But the fruit of all these is genuine and lasting peace, not only in this life but also in the life to come.

Fire. Baptism. Division. Jesus brings all these to the world. And He demands no less from all His disciples. After all, holiness is not for the faint-hearted. As Mother Angelica said, “Holiness is not for wimps, and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart! It’s a requirement.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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