August 14, 2022, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10 Hebrews 12:1-4 Luke 12:49-53
Elizabeth Nagel, writing the commentary about today’s readings in our Lector workbook (Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word*) clearly and succinctly summarizes what is happening in today’s readings: “Today’s Scriptures spotlight the struggles that come to those who choose to live by God’s word rather than by traditional human advice and practice.” (p. 232)
Jeremiah is thrown into a muddy cistern, where he would have died if he had not been rescued by Ebed-melech. The Letter to the Hebrews, urges us not to lose heart as we struggle against sin. And in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus implores us to realize that living the life of a disciple will, at times, be challenging - even difficult!
All the readings demonstrate to me that the message of Christianity is as relevant today as it was when Jesus walked the earth twenty centuries ago. Today’s words from Sacred Scripture are graphic and visceral…meant to shake us up a bit. But there are hints of God’s love and care for us as well - as demonstrated by the rescue of Jeremiah in the first reading; the everlasting joy that waits for us, if we remain true to our Christianity (the second reading); and the fire to which Jesus refers in today’s Gospel - the fire of divine love and guidance that represents the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.
Challenging times lie ahead for us if we choose to follow Christ. However, the reward - everlasting life and love that only God can provide - is nothing short of amazing! We must strive to live in the light of God’s love, letting the fire of that love burn bright in our hearts. We must practice “hopefulness”, especially in times of hardship. And we must carry on, striving to bring God’s love ever more fully into our world by acting for peace and for justice throughout the land.
What might each of us do this week to bring some semblance of peace and/or justice to our world?
[*Note: The workbook listed above is: copyright - 2021, Liturgy Training Publications and The Archdiocese of Chicago.]
by: Bill Miller