20th Sunday in O.T. (José Antonio Pagola): To set on fire

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: José Antonio Pagola · Year of first publication: 2016.
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More than enough Christians are deeply attached to their comfortable situation.  As a result, they tend to consider Christianity as a religion that invariably ought to be concerned with maintaining the law and the established order.

That is why it is so strange to hear from Jesus’ mouth sayings that invite, not to inaction and conservatism, but to a profound and radical transformation of society. I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! … Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

It is not easy for us to see Jesus as someone who brings fire, destined to destroy so much lying, violence and injustice. We find it difficult to imagine him bringing in a Spirit that is capable of radically transforming the world, even at the cost of confronting and dividing people.

Those who believe in Jesus are not fatalistic people who simply accept any situation, seeking above all tranquility and false peace. They are not the passive ones who justify the status quo without working eagerly, creatively and in solidarity for a better world. They are not rebels either; resentment motivates rebels.  Rebels demolish everything and then simply take the place of those they have brought down.

Those who understand Jesus act because of their passion and aspiration to work for complete change with other people. True Christians carry “revolution” in their hearts. Their revolution is not a “coup d’etat,” a change in government just like any other, an insurrection, a political change of guard. Rather, it is searching for a society that is more just.

The world order that we frequently defend is still a disorder. That is because we have not succeeded in giving food to all the hungry, or guaranteed each person’s rights, or even eliminated wars or destroyed nuclear arms.

We need a revolution that is more profound than our economic revolutions, a revolution that transforms the conscience of people and nations. H. Marcuse wrote that we need a world “in which competition, the struggle of individuals one against another, deception, cruelty and massacres no longer have a reason to exist.”

Those who follow Jesus spend life ardently seeking that the fire he lit burn more and more in this world. Before anything else, however, what is demanded of them is radical transformation: “The only thing we ask of Christians is that they be authentic. This truly is the revolution” (E. Mounier).

August 14, 2016
20 Sunday O.T. (C)
Luke 12, 49-53

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