I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household 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 mother-in-law.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Ite, inflammate omnia! Go, set all ablaze! With these words, inspired by today’s gospel passage, Jesuits have been sent on mission throughout the world for the past five hundred years. The fire, the flame burning in our hearts, is the fire of the love and truth of Christ, which we experience in the Spiritual Exercises and through our daily contemplation. This fire is nourished by the sacraments and through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through these we hope to preserve the fire implanted within us.
Yet the fire of apostolic zeal has often encountered the same resistance which today’s gospel foretells. No other order has produced more martyrs in the Church’s history (which is why every Jesuit community should have a decent set of red vestments). Why this resistance? As Hans Urs von Balthasar said: “In the gospel, anyone who encounters Christ is impelled either to worship him or to pick up stones with which to stone him.” We proclaim the Holy Name of Jesus Christ who, as God and man, sums up all of history in Himself. This is a scandal, a reproach in the eyes of the world. No doubt the preaching of the gospel has met such resistance. Yet, onward we go, for we do not preach the ravings of a despot, but rather the Divine Love which sacrificed itself for our salvation. Therefore, what we preach is good news.
This mission of preaching Christ is not solely a Jesuit task. All people are called to contribute in their own way according to their own state in life. In the process, they will face the same resistance. But through their trial by fire they will only come to experience more deeply the fire of the love which surpasses all understanding.
—Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J.
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!