I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! ‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.
It is one of those words of the Lord that is not easy to bear! This is especially true when we regard Jesus primarily as the Prince of Peace and, above all, emphasize those passages that relate to his love! There is no question that the Lord is the one who brings true peace! It is precisely with this concept of true peace that the dividing line between this and a false peace is revealed. And it is also necessary to distinguish between true love and false or even imperfect love.
The fire that the Lord wants to cast on the earth is the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Lord is the crucifixion he suffers for humanity, which precedes the mission of the Spirit.
In the meantime, this fire is burning and constantly testifying of the truth of the gospel, testifying to Christ’s death and resurrection, admonishing to remember the return of Christ at the end of time, and encouraging the preachers of the gospel to tirelessly to proclaim the grace of salvation to men and call them to conversion to God!
But this is also the time for people to make a decision! The rejection of the gospel has far-reaching consequences! If the light of the Gospel is culpably not received, then the soul of man is not enlightened and it remains in darkness. If man has not heard of the Gospel, or if it has been insufficiently proclaimed or even disfigured, then the soul remains in ignorance.
In the encounter with the Gospel, with the person of Jesus himself, comes the hour of grace and thus also the moment of truth. True peace is only possible in reconciliation with God, in the acceptance of God’s forgiveness. True love can only be effective in truth!
This reality of God now enters into the closest family ties. The acceptance of the message of grace means that the whole of life is based on it, God comes to the first place of life, the thinking is transformed and thus also the criteria for action. A path of constant inner repentance begins so that God’s Spirit can work better.
Since the Spirit of God is leading into all truth (cf. Jn 16,13) – this means both the overarching and the personal truth – there can be strong tensions between people who are also very close to family, which can even lead to enmity.
This discord, which Jesus means here, in this case does not come from different opinions or from sympathies and antipathies, but from the confrontation between light and darkness. This can become so strong that it cannot be restricted by the natural family ties, but can come to an outburst.
Let us think, for example, of strong different moral convictions. It may happen that within the family, for example, abortion is seen as a justifiable way of family planning, while someone who is bound to God never endorses it. Discord is inevitable and, in a way, it must come, because the truth leads to distinction and decision. The truth is that separates light from darkness and shows the way to true love! It leads to the seperation of spirits in families, in communities, in nations and also in the Church, if they are not united in the truth. It is a purifying fire and a great inner light.
May the Lord give that all men may open themselves to the truth and unite in God, and that families may also know and live their deeper destiny in God!