1.Jer 3:4-6,8-10
2.Heb 12:1-4
3. Gospel: Luke 12:49-53

                        "  I have come to set fire on Earth"

Here on earth we have got an endless list of people who are famous and who got to be famous. St. Thomas More cannot be  excluded from the list of famous people since history tells us a lot about him. He was a public servant, a judge, a diplomat, a member of the King of England' private council and king's favorite. Above all, he was a person whose fidelity to God and commitment to justice and truth could not be compromised even under the threat of death due to what happened in the next paragraph of our reflection.

It happened that in the year 1527, King Henry VIII who was legally married to Catheline of Aragon decided to Mary Ann Bolyn, thus he abandoned his first legal wife.  In March 1534, he coerced the parliament to pass a bill stating that what he did was right and all those who were asked to do so must publicly declare that it was right. Thomas a godly man and a prominent public figure was told to make the declaration. He insisted and publicly disobeyed the King's manipulation. Finally he was executed.

In our today's gospel, Jesus uses strong words that seem to be offending. He says, " I have come to set the earth on fire...........Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, but rather division." Today's readings are indeed a call to war: not a war against other people but a war against sin and corruption; not a war against people we perceive as evil, but a war against the evil one, the devil.

What do we do with fire? It can do many  different kinds of things. Fire can make something strong; that's why we put things like pots on fire. Fire can make something soft; that's why we put piece of iron into the fire, it turns red and then you can bend it. Fire can also heat or burn piece of wood and turn it into ashes. Fire gives light........as in candle, kerosene lamp or electric bulb. Fire can take away pain. If you have sprained ankle or swollen hand, put it close to the fire. Heat helps the pain  to go away. But do not play on fire it can destroy you and your property.

Let's learn one thing from our gospel today, that the message of Jesus is like fire because it changes, it purifies and refines us. This message of Jesus makes us loyal to him.

Christianity is loyalty. It is not a theory or an ideology, but it is a faith in the person of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God. It is the imitation of His life, teachings and sacrifice on the cross. Our faith cannot be compared to a situation when we like a dress and sometimes not like it anymore we give it to somebody or throw it away. Faith is the way of life; it is our own identification card that we constantly profess in our lives. 

Dear friends how loyal are we in Christ? We are living in the age of secularism, and materialism. This is the age characterized by an attitude of having things easily and immediately. The market is flooded with instant commodities; instant coffee, instant soup, everything is instant even instant baby you can have it without the blessing of the sacrament of Matrimony. However, there is a danger with regard to instant things. The danger is to think of instant salvation!. We can be thrown into the devil's trap of bringing ourselves away from the difficult commitment of faith and the sacrifices it entails.

Some biblical scholars are telling us that Jesus is speaking here not about the purpose of his coming but about the inevitable consequence of his coming. He came purposely to reveal the true sons and daughters of God who listen to God's word,  and the children of this world who oppose God's design. This divides all humankind into two camps, the camp of the godly and the camp of the ungodly. There is always a perpetual conflict, a state of war, between these two groups as one group strives to raise the world up to God and the other to pull it down to hell. These two groups do not live in two different parts of the world, they live side by side in the same neighborhood, they live together under the same roof, and in fact the forces of good and evil often exist together in the same person.

Asking ourselves this simple question that, what are some of these evil forces that we are asked to war against? Well, why don't we start with the seven Deadly sins: Pride( superiority complex), Covetousness( greed, seeking material prosperity at the expense of one's soul), Lust ( sexual abuse of minors, pornography, treating women as objects of pleasure), Anger ( bitterness, hate, bearing grudges), gluttony ( excessive eating and drinking), on top of these we can add the mother of all evils, injustice. If we declare war against these then we are fighting a holy war.

Are we are loyal to Jesus who denounced all the evils in the society during His time,  we too must denounce. But what happen? When someone more especially church leaders, speaks of Injustice, graft  and corruption in the government and even in the church, poverty, unequal distribution of wealth and many others, we say that priest should not mix politics with religion, that there should be a separation between the church and State, that only spiritual aspect. If this is what we want, then, when we enter the church and attend mass or pray, please leave your body at the entrance of the church and only your soul should enter and attend the Mass, practically this could not be. We do not ignore all these things. But Jesus denouncing all these things in His life time, are we following Him and doing the same as He did?

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Chapisha Maoni