First Reading ROM 6:19-23
Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6
Gospel LK 12:49-53
I have heard the readings for today multiple times in the past without truly thinking about the deeper meaning, but as I was reflecting over them this week, I was struck by the message. God always gives us a choice. He doesn't dictate our every move and gives us the freedom to make our own choices. He has, however, given us everything we need to live freely in Him through His son, Jesus. He knows our every step and the times when we will walk away from him and turn to sin, yet He waits with open arms for us to come back to Him. It's always our choice which path we walk on. In today's first reading, Paul tells us in a previous verse, "you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). The path we decide to walk on (our disobedient, sinful way or the path of God's will) determines whether we will have freedom from sin in our lives. It is a choice. There have been times in my life where I thought I knew what I was supposed to do, who I was supposed to be, and the life I was supposed to have, but I gained nothing because I walked around self-righteous. And I felt guilty just as Paul says!
I graduated college and received a degree in advertising with experience that could have allowed me to work at a big agency where I could easily make six figures. I thought I would move to a big city and live an extravagant life. I thought that in order to be successful I needed to have the nicest apartment, the best clothes, and a perfect life. However, when I was a junior in college, I felt God calling me to work for His Church. I was conflicted for some time until I realized that while I may not make the same amount of money, the wages of being a disciple of Christ are so much sweeter than any paycheck an agency could give. It can be tough, actually very tough, to follow Jesus. The road we walk includes deep hardship and suffering. When I told my family I was going to go into nonprofit ministry work, I didn't get the response I thought I would. I grew up a cradle Catholic so I thought my family would be over the moon with joy, but instead, they were concerned that I wouldn't be able to support myself or my lifestyle, and that I threw away my degree. It truly divided me from my family just as the Gospel today says. I knew it was a different path than what I envisioned for myself, but I had so much peace in my decision. When we make the choice to live our life as a disciple of Jesus, we live in His righteousness. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Today I want to end with what Jesus said to His disciples because it is so SO powerful, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing” (Luke 12:49). What are we doing in our lives to set the world on fire? Are we choosing the path of righteousness? As St. Catherine of Siena says, “Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire.” Let the Holy Spirit move you. Pray that God gives you a heart that desires His will, feet that walk according to His path for us, and a mouth that speaks the sweetness of His word.
Full readings can be found at http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102419.cfm