“I have come to Bring Fire to the Earth”
If our families and those closest to us both love and practice the Catholic Faith we are indeed very fortunate and should thank God for it. But more often than not the situation is very different. Some are not committed at all, while others settle for the bare minimum, and others might be at loggerheads over the issue. Thus Our Lord says in today’s Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) He has not come to bring peace but division and to set households against one another.
Many of the saints suffered from this problem. There is a terrible story concerning St Hermenegild (564-585), the son of a Bavarian king in Spain. His father had him imprisoned because he refused to subscribe to the Arian heresy which denied Our Lord was fully God and equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. His refusal caused his father to become so enraged that he ordered his son’s execution. Then the parents of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) fiercely opposed his religious vocation to the Dominicans, so much so that his mother had him kidnapped and imprisoned for a year, but Thomas refused to change his mind. Even some of Our Lord’s relatives thought He was mad (Mark 3:21).
England was once a Christian country, but it is a fact today that Christianity and Catholicism in particular are no longer politically correct. On top of this, many Christians throughout the world are suffering much at the hands of radical Islam and atheism and by those who oppose the Church’s moral teaching. There are countless stories of churches being attacked, vandalised and even set on fire. How far are we prepared to go to live out our faith? Sometimes it can be very difficult – we may find friends abandon us if we refuse to compromise on our religious and moral values. We might even suffer the loss of a job or be dragged into court for being true to Christ. These things can be very painful, but to be a true follower of Our Lord our hearts need to be on fire for love of God and zeal for the salvation of our neighbour. Our Lord says in today’s Gospel, “I have come to bring fire to the earth.” So let us pray to the Holy Spirit, the ‘consuming fire’ Whom we received in Baptism and Confirmation. Let us ask Him to be ablaze in our hearts, to sustain us and help us always to put God’s Will first, no matter what others may think or what it may cost us.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC