Homily for the twentieth Sunday in the year - Year C - Lk. 12:49-53
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" Jesus said: «I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!»
" «Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five 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 her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.» "
" Jesus said: «I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!» "
All of today's liturgy plunges us into the context of contradiction! The prophets who, like Jeremiah, proclaimed the Messiah were contradicted and ill-treated by their contemporaries. Jesus himself resolutely underwent worse torments in order to satisfy divine justice. Christians of all times, and above all the martyrs, didn't hesitate to testify to their faith at the price of their blood. We must face contradiction! He who wants to belong to Christ must prepare himself for the struggle of faith, because Jesus himself is a sign of contradiction: "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division."
Is this a terrifying thing? A terrible situation? Not at all! It is the path one must follow, because there is no other! It is necessary to resign oneself to it as Jesus did when he resolutely took the road to Jerusalem to undergo his Passion. The path is marked out, the Teacher has already travelled it: it remains for us to follow him, if we want to share in his glory. "Was there not a necessity for the Christ thus to suffer, and then enter into His glory?" (Lk. 24:26) For we must not forget: contradiction is something that must be passed through, it is a place of transition which is obligatory, but transitory! Through the Cross, Jesus opens Heaven to us: by uniting ourselves to his Cross, we also go to Heaven!
" «I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!» "
Jesus speaks to us here of his baptism on the Cross: he ardently wants to be baptized in his Blood in order to render glory to God by giving satisfaction for our sins. Truly, Jesus wants this baptism! Didn't Jesus say to his disciples, on the evening of Holy Thursday: "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." (Lk. 22:15) Now, that Passover was the last of his life, it was the meal during the course of which he instituted the sacrament of his Sacrifice! Therefore, when Jesus earnestly wants to eat the Passover, he is thinking first and foremost of the sacrament of his Body and Blood: for Jesus, to eat the Passover is to consummate his sacrifice even before it is achieved.
The baptism of Jesus on the Cross is the model for our own baptism, a baptism that, like the baptism of Jesus, leads to life: "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Rm. 6:4) If therefore we must undergo our share of contradiction, we must endeavor, with God's grace, to turn our eyes toward Heaven: if contradiction reaches us, let us think that Heaven is waiting for us and that our meeting with the Lord is coming soon! Contradiction lasts only for a moment, but Heaven is eternal!
" «Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.» "
Jesus told us he didn't come to earth in order to bring peace. But let us be clear about this: Jesus didn't come to bring peace as the world conceives of it. For Jesus did indeed come to bring peace, but his own peace: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." (John 14:27) The peace which Jesus brings is a relative peace. That means that the peace of Jesus is a peace in which the soul is sufficiently calm in order to cooperate with the Work of God, but without contradictions being completely absent from this life. The peace of Jesus is located at the proper midpoint between tranquillity and contradiction, the latter being sufficiently dominated in order that the soul can live peacefully.
In a short time, in the course of this eucharistic celebration, the priest, in the name of all the assembly, will speak these words of Jesus: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you..." This will take place just before communion. Let us ask Mary that these words be achieved in all their fullness, for the greater glory of God!