Thursday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time          

            “I have come to set the earth on fire.”

            Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, talks about his mission by using the metaphor of lighting a fire.

            The Lord is telling us that he wants to set us on fire. Do we really want to be set afire by Christ? He has set on fire millions before us: the apostles (all of them died as martyrs, except for St. John); countless martyrs (Angela Merici, Maximilian Kolbe, and including our own San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod); other great saints (John Vianney, Teresa of Avila, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Vincent de Paul, Therese of the Child Jesus).

            Pope Paul VI called for evangelizers who have “the fervor of the saints.” Pope John Paul II, in calling for a new evangelization, described it as new not only in method and in expressions, but also in fervor. The Church needs Christians who have fire and fervor in their hearts, and, thus, will be an inspiration to others. However, we cannot inspire unless we are on fire!

            So, again, the question is: Do we really want to be set afire by Christ? By the way, what is this fire we are talking about? According to the commentary of Nil Guillemette on today’s gospel, “The fire with which we must be aflame is the very fire which was burning in the heart of Christ.” “It is a fire which is not of this world, a fire which comes from God.”

            The Lord wants to set us on fire…he wants to light a fire in our souls…so that with us and through us, he can set the world on fire! Let us humbly ask the Lord to ignite something in our hearts, something burning and indomitable, something humble and gentle, something no force could extinguish (neither fear, nor failure nor disappointment, nor weariness, nor age, nor sickness) something coming from the Lord himself. May it be the fire that can give warmth to the cold of heart; the fire that can consume selfishness and greed; the fire that can melt resentment and unforgiveness; the fire that can enkindle fervor and enthusiasm; the fire that can spark a revolution of love. Only that fire can convert each of us to be a loving person, can change homes to be Christ-centered families, can animate neighborhoods to be small churches (BECs), can transform our country to be a true Christian nation, can “renew the face of the earth” to be God’s new creation.

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