20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
‘I have come to bring fire to the earth!’
O God, who have prepared for those who love you
good things which no eye can see,
fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love,
so that, loving you in all things and above all things,
we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire.
Today’s readings help raise our morale in the fight against evil. Jesus Christ, who came to bring fire on earth, gives us courage and hope to persevere in challenging times.
In the First Reading, Jeremiah advises the authorities to surrender to the Babylonians and put their trust in God. This unpopular message stirs the leaders, who try to kill him. In the persecution he suffers for speaking out so fearlessly, he foreshadows Christ himself.
The Psalm is a song of confidence and makes much of personal trust in God, the One who comes to our aid.
The Second Reading is a stirring appeal to a Christian community to persevere on their road of faith. The author argues that the witness of all those who have gone before them, as well as the example of Christ himself, means there is no reason to lose heart.
In the Gospel, Jesus shows his human anxiety at the prospect of facing the ‘baptism’ of death, and also reveals he has already encountered opposition in his work. There are many who don’t find the ‘good news’ helpful. This will cause division as sinful humanity fails to seek the ways of reconciliation and true peace that he preaches.
This week, let’s pray for the grace of courage – to allow God’s life to deepen within us, and also within all of our sisters and brothers.