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Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. John Paul II
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Opening Prayer: My Lord, send forth your Spirit and enkindle in me the fire of your love. In a world so divided, help me to be part of your divine solution.
- Fire, Anguish, Strife: Powerful words such as fire, anguish, and strife paint the backdrop for a striking statement by the Lord which we can call a “mission statement” in the truest meaning of the words: “I have come to…” Jesus’s words in today’s Gospel allows us to more deeply contemplate his heart and discover how he understood his mission in this world. And what we see is a rock in the storm, a bastion of confidence, a heart ablaze. Let’s subjugate ourselves to this blazing Sacred Heart.
- “I Have Come to Set the Earth on Fire”: Jesus had come to save the world, to die for us, and to defeat death. But his mission was not reduced to the last hours of his earthly life. His whole life was part of that redemption, during which he revealed the mystery of who God is. Today, he shows us the passionate, epic character of God’s love. Let’s ask for the grace to share in the Lord’s passion.
- Imitating Christ: To love like Christ loved means to quest and strive for the good that he yearned for: the salvation of men. It also means that we are to seek ways to give of ourselves lovingly—a “baptism with which I must be baptized.” Today as we commemorate St. John Paul II, we can identify an excellent example of a man who followed Christ closely and sought to imitate him in the way he loved–passionately, joyfully, generously–a man who adopted Christ’s mission statement wholeheartedly in his own life. May we do so as well.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you have come to love mankind and to save the world, and you have also made this mission our mission. As your disciple, I acknowledge that it is also my mission to love like you and to bring the message of your salvation to all people in my path.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for an occasion to live out my mission as a Christian by imitating your love and spreading your message.
For Further Reflection: “The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the church is constantly on the increase. Indeed, since the end of the Council it has almost doubled. When we consider this immense portion of humanity which is loved by the Father and for whom he sent his Son, the urgency of the church’s mission is obvious” (St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, n. 3: Complete Encyclical).
Written by Father Gabriel von Wendt, LC.