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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield;
and look on the face of your anointed one;
one day within your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere. Ps 84 (83):10-11
(When it is prescribed, this hymn is either said or sung:)
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to...
Daily Meditation: Luke 12:49-53
I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Luke 12:49)
Jesus’ words about setting the earth on fire can be confusing—even frightening. It might remind us of a forest fire that consumes everything in its path. It’s true that fire in Scripture often symbolizes the purifying presence and judgment of God. But fire also represents the Holy Spirit, particularly in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
In Luke, John the Baptist prophesies that the Messiah will come to “baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire” (3:16). And Jesus does just that. Just before his ascension, he tells his disciples, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you” and “You will be baptized with the holy Spirit” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5). He then fulfills that promise on Pentecost when the Spirit comes upon them like “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:3).
Jesus longed with all his heart for the Holy Spirit to fill his disciples—and the whole earth! He couldn’t wait to see the fire of the Spirit blazing forth and bringing light to every dark corner of the world. This was why he came; it was the goal of his entire mission. It’s why he would endure the “baptism” of his passion and death (Luke 12:50).
Jesus’ heart burns with love for us, and he wants his Spirit to fill us with that love. Like fire, the Spirit changes everything he touches. His fire will warm our hearts so they burn with love for him and the people around us. His fire will purify our hearts so we will want to live holy lives that please the Lord. And his fire will enflame our hearts with a passion to tell everyone about the love of Jesus.
Jesus wants that transforming power to blaze in each of us until it fills the whole earth. So together let’s pray,
“Come, Holy Spirit! Set my heart on fire.”
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Psalm 40:2-4, 18