Luke 12: 49-53
I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire!
I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over.
Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides.
A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same.
Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other.
The instinct of Christians will always be to avoid confrontation where possible; to promote reconciliation, harmony, dialogue, mutual respect. Still, conflicts will arise, not only between Christians and non believers, but even, alas, between Christians themselves. It’s good for us to be reminded of this, to expect it, not to be overly alarmed by it when it comes. What we have to do above all is remain deeply united to Jesus, leaving the outcome of our lives in his hands. And at every holy Eucharist we have to ask the Lord to send down his fire into our hearts, into our lives; to transform us by his Holy Spirit: so that we truly become ablaze with his love.
When St. Teresa of Avila travelled about Spain founding monasteries of her Carmelite Reform, she took with her an uneducated lay sister called Anne of St. Bartholomew. After Teresa’s death, this sister against her will was promoted to the Choir, and then elected Prioress. She was subsequently asked not only to found new monasteries herself, but to do so in foreign countries. She complained to God in prayer: Lord, can you ask all this of me? I am nothing but straw! And he replied: Ah, but it is with straws like this that I light my fire.