The Jesuit Father Antoine Kerhuel introduces us to meditation with the readings of the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Readings: Jr 38.4-6.8-10 Ps 39 He 12.1-4 Lk 12.49-53
The texts read this Sunday remind us how strong the resistance to accepting the Word of God can be. They can be strong in the world, in our families and communities, and in ourselves.
The prophet Jeremiah had deeply displeased the war-mongers of Jerusalem when he declared: “Thus says the Lord: This city will indeed be delivered into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will take it. Jeremiah was seen as a prophet of doom, a man who called on his fellow citizens to surrender before a foreign army…a man who announced defeat to a people who were falling away from the Lord. He was therefore thrown into a pit, where death awaited him. Only a royal intervention saved him from this fate.
The reading from the book of Hebrews heard today reminds us that we are preceded by a multitude of witnesses who have resisted to the point of blood in their fight against sin. In this fight, they follow the path traced by Jesus, from the passion to the resurrection.
Finally, in the extract from the Gospel of Luke proclaimed this Sunday, we hear Jesus tell his disciples that he has come to bring fire to the earth, that he has come to undergo a radical baptism (this baptism which will result in the experience of passion and resurrection). The itinerary of Jesus will cause divisions, within the same family, between those who will welcome life in Jesus and those who will refuse it.
These different readings are not half measures. They tell us the reality of the spiritual warfare that is actually taking place in the world, in our families and communities, and within ourselves. How to live this spiritual fight? We must be silent and learn to read the different movements that agitate our hearts: those that bring us to exciting and ephemeral joy, those that leave us perplexed, those that lead us to radical and mature decisions, those that are accompanied by deep calm and inner peace. In fact, there are many inner movements that meet in our daily lives, but we have to make the effort to stop running from right to left to spot them and discover their meaning. We will then recognize that in some ways we are drawn towards something that we cannot name with another word than “Life” and that in other ways this call to “Life” comes up against so many habits, prejudices, character traits inherited from the culture of our peoples, from our backgrounds and from the ill-advised choices that we ourselves may have made at one time or another in our journey. We will be able to recognize that “this Life” is not an idea, but that it has a face: that of Jesus Christ. To live the spiritual combat is to enter into an experience of conversion which makes us choose this “Life” (with a capital V) that we discover, even though this may put us in difficulty with those around us and enroll us in doorsteps. out of step with the times.
We can look at how Jesus, in the Gospels, experienced this spiritual combat: how he called his contemporaries to discover mercy, how he reintegrated into society those who were excluded from it, how he freed himself from all prejudice towards strangers, how he gave himself radically, how he remained in constant listening to Him whom he called his Father and whom he designated to his disciples as their Father. Spiritual warfare is not a struggle undertaken by some willful superhero. It is the path taken by Jesus to lead his contemporaries, whoever they may be, towards a “new life”.
May we, ourselves, follow Jesus on this path.
We wish to thank the author of this write-up for this incredible material
Meditation for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time C: “Jesus leads us to new life” – Vatican News
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