Earth and Hearts on Fire
Today’s Gospel gives us a privileged view into our Lord’s Sacred Heart. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth,” He tells us, “and would that it were already kindled!” (Lk. 12:49). Now, far from being a cry of despair or anger, this interjection shows the great depths of our Lord’s love for us. For even though He knows that His Truth and Love may cause division among those who do not believe, He knows that ultimately, these lead to communion with Him. And so He desires the whole earth to be ablaze with the fire of His Love!
This has great implications for us as Christians. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said in one of his famous Good Friday sermons, “If Jesus Christ thirsted for souls, must not a Christian also thirst? If He came to cast fire on the earth, must not a Christian be kindled?” In other words, if we are to be followers of Christ and coworkers in His mission, we must desire the same things He does, and be filled with His fiery Love, so that we may spread the fire over the whole earth. If not, the risk is great—again in the words of Fulton Sheen: “A Catholic who does not strive to spread his Faith is a parasite on the life of the Church.”
How then are we to catch this fire? The Letter to the Hebrews, in the passage for this Sunday, gives the answer: we must “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” (12:2). Can a stream flow without a source? Can a flame start without a spark? In the same way, unless we look to Jesus, and stay fixed on Him, we will not have the fire of His Love in our hearts, and the fire that does pierce our souls will be a profane, worldly fire, displeasing to the Lord, which will eat away at us until nothing is left to burn. With hearts set aflame by the Love of God, however, and with eyes fixed on Jesus our Lord, there is nothing we won’t be able to do. Indeed, in the words of St. Catherine of Siena, a fiery figure herself, “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!”
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After another fruitful summer assignment here at the Cathedral, I would like to thank all the parishioners here for their kindness and generosity. It is not often a priest or seminarian is able to return to the same parish twice, and being able to do so has been a great grace, for which I am very grateful. Please continue to pray for me, as I only have two more years of seminary formation: one till diaconate, and two till priesthood! And know of my daily prayers for you as well. May God keep us close in His Love, and may He bless you all in abundance! Now go set the world on fire!
Yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,