Thought of the week
In the Gospel of Luke, we find many challenging passages. Luke was writing his Gospel predominantly to well-to-do Greek people and not those of a Jewish background. We might count ourselves today as a similar audience. We live in a relatively wealthy part of the world with no shortage of worldly goods or food. We do not face plagues, famines or wars. We can become comfortable relying on the things of the world which may diminish our understanding of the need for the things of God.
Luke calls us to open our hearts in humility to God and to perceive the world through the perspective of God’s eyes rather than our own personal view of what is important or not. This will lead us to value humility rather than status or what we now call celebrity, mercy rather than seeking revenge, a rich lasting relationship with God rather than the corrosive riches of money and property. We should be seeking the acceptance of God rather than the acceptance of people.
Jesus, speaking as the prophet, saw the suffering that his message would bring to him and also to his followers. We expect the Gospel to bring us peace not the deep family divisions foreseen by Jesus. The peace that Jesus brings is not that between families and nations, still mired in worldly thinking, but a restoring of the harmony between God, humankind and the whole of creation lost through original sin.
We are called to be the prophets of our day but there is often pain in prophecy as people choose to accept or reject the message. Jesus gives us the gospel message of peace but because of the refusal to accept it there will be pain and division. The fire Jesus spoke of is a purifying fire which separates good from bad. Strong in faith we have nothing to fear from this fire as we seek to enter heaven through the narrow door.