Readings for August 18, 2013 – Lectionary: 120
Reflection starts at 3:30 minute mark.
Reading 1 JER 38:4-6, 8-10
This first reading sounds like it comes straight from the storyline of a dama. Jeremiah is caught up in a messy scandal of politics in 7th century B.C. Jerusalem. Unfortunately, we miss most of the interesting details in this reading, and we end up where the prophet is being unfairly sentenced to a slow death in a well. Jeremiah is very blunt and speaks boldly in the name of the Lord. In His service to God, he has made a few enemies.
This is a theme for this week – we can’t expect that friendship with the Lord will make it easy to make and keep friends in this life. Out of his obedience to the Lord, Jeremiah had to call out the king for his lack of faith. In our lives, we can fairly expect that serving God will have some difficult calls to action and sometimes even more difficult consequences.
Responsorial Psalm PS 40:2, 3, 4, 18
R. (14b) Lord, come to my aid!
Reading 2 HEB 12:1-4
In the second reading, we return to the letter to the Hebrews this week for part 2 of 4. Last week we focused on the heroic example of those that have gone before us. These great witnesses are those that the writer refers to that surround us. These witnesses appear to be dead when we judge by our senses, but we are reminded of the reality that exists beyond this world.
At the time, the intended audience was composed of many former Jews that converted to Christianity, and this led to many difficulties in their lives. Some were disowned by their families and lost most of their familiar support group.
The saints are alive, and they cheer us on as continue in this race. Just as there was a beginning, there is an end, and we know to push through the struggles, aware that they have made it through these difficult struggles like us. Many of them have even endured even more difficult challenges than our own.
Gospel LK 12:49-53
This week’s Gospel is a very dramatic selection of the words of Jesus. We begin with Jesus’ expression of setting fire to the earth. This is intentionally worded to bring emotion in between courage and fear. Then Jesus takes it a few steps further to point out the difficulties of His mission for us.
There are many verses that we look to for encouragement from Scripture, but the closing words are not usually quoted or selected to be on posters.
“Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
Take heart, for Our Lord has already overcome the world. If you think being a Christian is easy, you might be doing it wrong. There will be many uncomfortable, painful, and difficult moments in our lives as we live out and preach the Gospel. We might lose close friendships or cause distance with our family, but Our Lord is worth everything.
Question for further meditation
Do I hold back the Truth for fear of persecution?
Theme song – Ignite – Soundwave soundwave.cc
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