This summer’s readings from Luke on the practice of discipleship ignite a burning message in today’s Gospel. There is a cost to discipleship: there is suffering, division, and even rejection. These may be the cost for disciples who live the radical convictions and values of the kingdom of God in their family, workplace, parish, diocese—in their private and public lives.
Today we hear things spelled out: you cannot follow Christ without ‘skin in the game’; and you may not compromise or make excuses with your time, talent and treasure—for you have put on Christ! Your actions, decisions and priorities must show others that you take your Baptism seriously. It sure was easier to follow Him when He only wished us peace…
Jesus now wants to divide us— not from each other—but from those things that keep us from Him and true love. We are reminded today that the choices we must face as believers are difficult, sacrificial and sometimes very painful; yet the Psalm verses tell us that we are not alone in all our struggles—that like Jeremiah in the cistern—the Lord will hear our cries and deliver us.
Today is about the decision to let God start the fire in us—and that our passion for our faith will burn away the debris of sin—all the greed, pride, selfishness, lust and apathy. God, today, or any day, doesn’t advocate for lukewarm! He wants to send down His spiritual fire into our hearts that we may live with conviction, integrity, fervor and commitment for the Kingdom. We must pray to receive the grace of this fire and be willing to take up the fiery demands of discipleship: we have received the living God and must Lift High the Cross in order to build a City of God here and now.