Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 38.4-6, 8-10; Hebrews 12.1-4; Luke 12.49-53
“I came to bring fire to the earth…I have baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!”
When the evangelist Luke writes about A.D. 85, Jesus has completed his baptism — his suffering, death, resurrection, and return to God, but he has not come again in glory. Meanwhile Christian faith has spread not only among Jews but among Gentiles and created conflicts. Baptism is one such conflict. Among Gentiles baptism takes the place of circumcision but some Pharisees who have become Christians object. They think Gentiles should be circumcised and instructed in keeping the law of Moses.
The gospel anticipates dividing fires will persist. In his follow up the Synod of the Family that met in 2014 and 2015, Pope Francis invites the Church today into tough conversations that air differences. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis invokes the principle that “time is greater than space.” He favors processes that make room over time for mercy and grace to work in our lives.
What value do you experience in talking about difficult, even divisive, questions? How does time make room for grace to work?
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