The boldness of the Word

| Deacon Joseph Kavuma | August 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Volunteers organize food boxes for needy families at a food shelf in Spencerport, N.Y. CNS file photo

Jesus is many times presented as a nice person: kind, compassionate and a ­gentle shepherd.

However, we are reminded this week that Jesus is uncompromising and demanding. God did not send his only Son to entertain us: He came to proclaim and teach the truth, which often collides with our lives.

Jesus came to set the world on fire through the power of the Holy Spirit, the mutual love between the Father and the Son as symbolized by tongues of fire on Pentecost.

Jesus is not just a “nice guy.” He is the second person of the Trinity, whose mission is to draw us into perfect union with the Father. This union is the fount of all perfection: holiness, purity and sanctity to which we are all called to aspire every moment of our lives with all our being, strength and mind.

God’s plan

By his glorious paschal mystery, Jesus draws all humanity to himself, desiring that all become one and be like him.

Through baptism we take on this new identity, becoming temples of the Holy Spirit, exhorted to do the will of God. We are called, for example, to do daily acts of charity emanating from the love for Christ without counting the cost, to implement policies that serve the common good of all, and to hold values that mirror the will and plan of God.

In our own age, it is tragic that we shun the fire of divine love. We desire to be close to Jesus yet we hate and shy away from the cross. There is no authentic Christian life without the cross.

We must not turn the teaching of God into a fairy tale about nice things people want to hear, as exemplified by the aggressive indoctrination of a false peace, or equality, or freedom.

There is no comfort zone in Jesus Christ if you are not resolved to walk with him. My spiritual director always counsels me, “God desires the whole man,” not compartmentalization. God desires the whole of you, body and soul, at every breath of your life — not only for Sunday Mass, not only for confirmation, never to return until your wedding day, funeral or at all.

Burning with the Spirit

Stepping up to the expectations of Jesus is challenging but rewarding. He himself reveals to us that with the Holy Spirit, we can persevere and remain faithful to the Lord.

Anytime sin is celebrated and Truth condemned, divisions and persecutions shall emerge. Those burning with the Spirit of the Lord will remain firm, propagating truth at whatever cost.

Nevertheless, St. Paul exhorts us, “to rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.”

Deacon Kavuma is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda. His home parish is Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Entebbe. His teaching parish is Our Lady of Grace in Edina.

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Readings

Sunday, Aug. 18
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Luke 12:49-53

Reflection

In what ways is Christ calling you to step out of your comfort zone to follow him?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures