Commentary on the Gospel of

NOVICE MASTER Fr. Johnson Joseph, cmf
The fire that Jesus speaks is not destructive, but it is a creative fire – fire of love and fire of the spirit. Fire in the scripture stands for God’s presence and God’s actions. Holy Spirit is also understood as fire that warms up God’s grace in us. Fire also functions as purifying and testing element. It is a challenge to love God and place him above everything else. That is why Jesus said, ‘how I wish such a fire were already kindled!’ True faith and love will inspire one to prefer God above all else and it can turn even family and friends against us. Loyalty and commitment to Jesus has no middle ground. Jesus has already cautioned us that fidelity to his Word can cost valued relationships and the approval of the world.

Fire is also an element of devastation and an image that illumines. Prophets announced walking through the fire to indicate one’s fervour to God’s will, undergo trials and go to any extent to being faithful to God. Gospel speaks of the baptism of fire. Baptism is a new beginning; it is a promise and a commitment. In our world of changes and drastic contradictions, to follow Jesus is a walk by fire. The commitment of baptism can burn us, divide, and disturb us. To defend the Gospel values and to hold on to the true faith is a challenge. Yet there are those who uphold humanity and announce fraternity at great cost.


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