Readings: Ephesians 3:14-21; Luke 212:49-53
I have come to set the earth on fire…Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
The divisiveness described in today’s Gospel seems a very apt description of the current state of affairs. I look at the contradictory ways the various Christian churches use the Gospel, the abuses in our own Church, all claiming to witness to Jesus. Don’t we see betrayals of the basic Gospel message, protecting privilege and power? Don’t some denominations see Catholic teachings contrary to their vision of a white Christian society?
Jesus has indeed set the earth on fire!
The serene, unifying perspective of Chapter Three of the Letter to the Ephesians is not paradoxical or a corrective to today’s Gospel. It is the foundation of what Jesus is telling us, where we must begin and end, where we find our hope.
When Christ dwells in our hearts through faith and we are rooted and grounded in love, we can deal with this conflict of interpretations. It’s the only way I can see those who differ from me as human and as fallible as myself.
I am not claiming that this is a fool-proof strategy to melt prejudices and injustices, though it may challenge me to live more consistently. Such a path is witnessing to Christ’s truth and, in Christ, growing strong enough to bear the consequences.