TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Also Read: Mass Readings for 14 August 2022 Mass Reading Reflection for 14 August 2022
Gospel: Luke 12: 49-53
Your close connection with Jesus could be a cause of irritation to many, sometimes for the authority, sometimes for the so-called progressive society, and sometimes even for your close relatives. Because you could prove to be an inconvenience in more than one way. Like it or not you are often forced to take a stand; be convenient for everyone and try to please as many as possible or stay strong and sturdy with Jesus. It will be a painful decision; you will have to pay the price. Compromise is not a word in the dictionary of Jesus.
Jesus had repeatedly told his disciples that sufferings, the cross, and death were part of the divine program for him. And he was unambiguous that it was the same for his disciples too. For a man of strong faith, it is easier to stand with Jesus when the challenge is from the authority or the society, than when challenged by someone close in his family.
William Shakespeare portrayed it well, by putting the simple words in the mouth of the battling king Julius Caesar; “you too Brutus.” Until he saw Brutus drawing the sword, he could defend himself against his assailants. He was more defeated by the betrayal of Brutus than by the attack of the assailants.
It may not be as dramatic in our lives. Nevertheless, the pain of being let down by a beloved family member for standing by the truth and standing by Jesus is often more painful than martyrdom at the hands of some unknown religious fundamentalists. But we are warned well in advance. Sometimes even our close relatives may not understand us. That is the fire Jesus is describing in today’s Gospel.
It is neither a reason to run away from our commitment to Jesus nor a reason to hate the members of your family. If betrayal by a trusted disciple, denial by the leader disciple, suffering, shame, cross, and death were part of the salvation program perfected by Jesus, we cannot expect anything different. One important point Jesus makes is that suffering has got a purpose. It has got its own benefits. If we are convinced, we would start to be grateful to those who give us an opportunity to suffer. Then it shall be easier to join Jesus in his most beautiful prayer, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23, 34).
Indeed, we have a lot more to learn from Jesus. Stay tuned to Jesus.