Peace and harmony, love and unity and every good thing. Isn’t that what we all hope for, what we pray for, what we sing hymns about? Isn’t that what Jesus came to bring to earth?
Jesus says he came to bring fire and division. “I have come to set the earth on fire…! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
Fire and division? What kind of fire? What causes the division?
The fire that Jesus wants to set on the earth is not a destructive fire, but a creative fire, the Fire of Love, the Fire that is the Spirit – the Spirit that IS the Fire of Jesus, sent from the Father and the Son. The Spirit that sheds the light of Truth on everything, the Spirit that is the Word that is a Lantern to our path, the Spirit that comes from the Father and the Son and allows God to be “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6), the Spirit that consumes everything that is not Love so that Love can reign. The Spirit of Love that draws all souls to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. That is the Fire that Jesus came to set on the earth, and why he was in anguish; without this spiritual fire, we are dull and lifeless.
And those who choose this Spirit, those who allow themselves to be ignited with the life-giving Love of God, will be opposed by those who do not! Even within families, there will be division because those who resist the Spirit cannot understand those who surrender to the Spirit; those who are living only a natural life cannot understand those who are living a supernatural life. Households will be in disagreement, but the patience of those who are filled with the Spirit can eventually share that radiant joy and love and unity with others!
So, Jesus ultimately DOES want peace and unity, in love. But not a shallow and superficial unity that is no more than mutual tolerance in order to avoid confrontation or authentic conversion. Jesus wants a communion that is true and deep and bubbling up from the Springs of the Spirit, a communion that is only possible when we are whole and free, a communion that it is everlasting.
In this world, that kind of communion will always encounter opposition. It is our task to reach out to the opposition in patience and love, knowing that the Spirit can make all things new.
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com
Feature Image Credit: thommas68, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/fire-and-water-hands-fight-fire-2354583/