Sunday’s Reflection: The picture of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel is often seen as the friendly, loving Jesus, but here we find a hard teaching of Jesus. The one we call “the Prince of Peace” is telling us that he has not come to bring peace but division. This is not even a throwaway statement, because it is further enumerated as divisions within families.
How do we receive this contradiction? We can start by looking at the fire which Jesus is bringing. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem saw this as the fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, coming to the apostles. This establishment of the church was a revolutionary act, a catalyst demanding individual response. Some accept and cooperate with the Holy Spirit, growing, as Saint Ambrose suggests, in virtues such as charity, faith, and justice. But others reject both the Holy Spirit and those who live in the Spirit.
Love of neighbor is the result of loving God, but it must be properly ordered, the former subordinated to the latter. Some will chafe at this, and divisions are formed. These divisions can cut across nations, peoples, and even families; no human organization, however good, can determine the individual response to the Holy Spirit.
Where have I seen the Holy Spirit cultivating virtues such as charity, faith, and justice?
Prayer: Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Sermons that Work, T.E.C.)