Thursday of the 29th Week of the Year

Luke 12:49-53

Jesus: a Cause of Division


When I was in Davao City, I used to go and preside over the Eucharist in a church situated beside a Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Iglesia ni Kristo. The first time I came to this place I asked myself, “Is Christ the cause of division?” each claims that they are the true church. Today, we hear Jesus proclaims, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

I can still remember doing apostolate in a barrio in Cavite. At that time the Born-again Christian movement was very strong. A mother came to me and asked for help. She was so worried about her daughter who was sowing division and confusion among her siblings. That daughter used the name of Jesus in order to mislead members of her family, as if Jesus preaches confusion and is the reason why family members quarrel.

It is human pride which causes division. Our failure to open up and listen to authority brings separation. Faith must be a factor of unity. The task of the church is to bring peace and unity here on earth. (Fr. Yoyo Rebucias, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Two years I remember while preparing for a Sunday homily from this same text, I was listening to a radio report about an early morning fire that happened that day in Manor Hotel in Kamias, Quezon City which killed around 70 people.

Fire is the issue in today’s gospel. How can Jesus be so careless with his words when he said, “I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it was blazing already.” What is he talking about?

Jesus uses “fire” in a symbolic sense. In the Old Testament, especially during the time of Moses, “fire” is a symbol of Divine Presence. For instance, we have the following text: “The Lord our God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” “He appeared to Moses in a burning bush.” Thus, fire is a symbol of God’s intervention in history.

In the New Testament, “Fire” became a symbol of God’s cleansing, purification and transformation of a person to a more “perfect” state. The best example of this, of course, is Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit in tongue of fire on the apostles and we all know the effect of this event. The apostles were transformed from timid and fearful men into courageous missionaries and preachers of the gospel.

In today’s gospel, this is indeed what Jesus wants to do to us. He wants to change us from merely passive churchgoers and observers into fully committed and active Christians, who are willing and open to follow and imitate him, to work for him and even to die for him as a disciple in the world. At the same time, he wants to purify us so that our lives become a visible tool of his love, goodness, compassion and salvation to the whole world.

Hopefully, through our lives, we can improve to all that there is, indeed, a loving God who is more powerful that all the greatest powers that the earth can ever produce and imagine and more valuable than all the wealth the earth can ever give.

Today, we pray to have a mind that thinks like Jesus, a hand that works like Jesus, a heart that loves like Jesus, an eye that sees people in need like Jesus, a mouth that speaks words like Jesus, a life that is exactly like Jesus. May our lives be inflamed with love for Jesus. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Our experience of Jesus is the fuel of our life. This encounter is likened to a fire which consumes all dimensions of our life, at work or at home. Jesus so invades us that there is no more distinction between Jesus and our individual self. This is known as religious experience. The authenticity of this experience is manifested in real life situations. The way we react and respond to calls for charity reveal this experience. That is why Jesus in today’s gospel says: “I have come to set the earth on fire, how I wish it were already blazing.”

When Jesus speaks of “a household divided” it is not so much about family or generational division. It is the Christian on fire by this experience and his/her response to the person in need which separates him/her from the rest. He/she is blazing with charity that he/she stands out in a community. For Paul, the first reading says, this personal experience of Jesus is critical. Remove this experience of the Lord and everything in this life becomes an idol. Is your life blazing with love for that which the Lord loves or is it slowly extinguished by worldly concerns which the Lord wants us to evade? Let the Lord’s words in today’s gospel reverberate once more: “”I have come to set the earth (including your life) on fire, how I wish it were already blazing.” (Fr. Ramoncito S. Rebucias, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


The words of Jesus are very often paradoxical. Today’s gospel is a good example. Jesus says He came to cause division. But is He not the Prince of Peace and is not the core of His message love, fellowship, community, brotherhood and reconciliation? So which is it, peace or division? Or is it both? It is like asking if stirs go up and down. They go both ways.

So it is with the teaching of Christ. If we are searching for truth, his teaching leads to peace and joy. If we search for other things we may run into division. Simeon had predicted: “This Child is destined for the rise and the fall of many in Israel.” Why for the fall anyone who encounters Christ comes away changed.  If he believes in Christ and accepts His message, he becomes better. If he rejects Christ he becomes worse.

If someone strives to be faithful to the law of Christ, he often encounters misunderstanding. Friends or relatives may ask: “Why don’t you go along with the crowd? Anyway, everyone is doing it.” One reason the early Christians were persecuted by the Romans was that they were different. They followed a higher morality.

Activists and those fighting for human rights are often targeted, even killed, because they refuse to remain silent in the presence of gross injustices. They are said to “disturb the peace.” Jesus disturbs the peace and was not satisfied with the peace based on fear. He was on fire for truth and justice. That is why He was executed – His baptism of blood. Mother Angelica said: “If you are not a thorn in someone’s side, you are probably not living your Christian faith.” (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


There is a song that goes: “My peace I give unto you, it’s a peace that the world cannot give. It’s a peace that the world cannot understand….” the lines speak about Jesus’ brand of peace as something beyond the world’s capacity to produce and even comprehend.

Clearly, he does not mean a serene, tranquil, and calm scenery but rather, promises episodes of struggles and conflicts even among family members. This is bound to happen when one decides to follow Him closely especially when one is met with opposing and contrary values. The world usually offers different set of principles and perspectives that may run perpendicular to the ones of Jesus. This opposition, sadly, has faces – familiar faces. The hardest opposition that one has to face can come from the people who are closest to the heart.

In the gospel, Jesus anticipates the hard consequences of discipleship. It is clear that the decision to follow Him. And for the sake of the Kingdom is oftentimes unacceptable, impractical and incomprehensible, an affront to basic logic and even culture. I knew this when I decided to enter the seminary. I was not met with greetings of encouragement and thanksgiving but I was the receiving end of criticisms and even spawned conflicts. However, there was this peace in me that somehow led my family to understand, but it was a peace that was not easy to neither give nor understand. As I look back, I realize that it was part of the process. I know that in the future, this life that I chose to live will again be a magnet of conflicts and division, in the same that His was a life that was considered a sign of contradiction in Israel.

Sometimes we wish that Jesus will not be as demanding. It would be great if He remains the ideal poster guy in calendars, a crowned king and not the crucified one. But again, Jesus did not meant to be pleasant and accommodating in the first place for His peace cannot be obtained easily by worldly standards. He will even lead us to where we dare not to go. His peace goes beyond our self-defined and self-willed notions – it is the peace that disturbs so that our choosing Him will truly be genuine and driven by love. (Frt. Ferdie Bajao, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


October 20, 2016 Thursday

Sometimes, we are confronted with a “What-did-you-just-say?” moment. This usually happens when the person says something we are not expecting that person to say.  We have this situation in today’s Gospel. In the prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah, the Savior would be called, among other things, “Prince of Peace”. Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the Good News and told them to say “Peace to this house” when entering a home. Even today, the Church prays for peace.

Thus, when Jesus speaks of bringing division instead of peace, it gives us pause and really think about this statement. We realize that to follow Jesus is to make a decision, sometimes causing us to follow a different path from others’. In my mission work in Japan, I have come across mothers disapproving of their daughters’ decision to be baptized Catholics. This, though, is more of an exception than the rule. I feel the disapproval comes not so much out of a dislike for Catholicism as from a misconception of what the Catholic Church really is.

But in the larger society, where we belong to different groups, we can also sometimes nd this concern at work when we choose to follow our Christian convictions rather than give in to peer pressure to do evil or turn a blind eye. We can be ostracized for not being a “good group member” because we decide against following others doing bad deeds.

In the end, we have to make a choice. To decide whom to follow. To be a Christian is to follow Christ. And to follow Christ means to take up the cross. It is not an easy path. Let us pray that even in the midst of a divided world, we will always be instruments of peace. (Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD Japan Bible Diary 2016)


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Romans 6:19-23
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Luke 12:49-53

Today’s readings remind us of our weak human nature. All too often we fall prey to our impulses, emotions, or learned patterns of behaviors. We are driven by social pressures and our expectations. We look for happiness in material things. Our motivations are subject to what brings us the most pleasure and the least constraints. Of course, these are generalizations and luckily, we don’t always act on these desires. But in some ways, we are slaves of our human nature. We prefer the path to least resistance. Research on happiness suggests that we don’t find it the accumulation of wealth, but rather in our relationships. One of these relationships can be the one we may have with God.

We are slaves of our human nature, but there is hope in today’s message. In the psalm, we hear that we can find true happiness in God’s Law. Happy are those who follow and study God’s law. If we follow the way of the just, we are freed from sin and can expect eternal life. I find this message of hope powerful. It helps me put my faith in context. I often feel weak, doubting my worth, but knowing that God watches over the just, is helpful. Knowing that the just will prevail is particularly important to me, and knowing that following the paths of the just will lead to eternal life is truly a gift of God that can bring happiness.



Also look for the Homily of the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)



Today’s gospel provokes a question: Why did Jesus come into the world? Jesus says, “I have come to light a fire on the earth.” Even more troubling, he says, “I have come not for peace but for division.” We live in a divided world. We see division everywhere we look – among nations, within countries, in our government, even our own families. Is this the sort of division Jesus is talking about? Is Jesus to blame for all this division in the world? Surely not!

Jesus came to unite all people in the Kingdom of His Father. He came to reveal the truth. He is the Truth. Those who accept Him experience the unity that is built on the solid foundation of truth. At the same time, they experience division from those who oppose the truth.  So when Jesus speaks about coming for division, he is talking about the effect of people’s decisions for or against him. Our own free will makes division a radical possibility.

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus overcame the kingdom of darkness, of sin and of Satan. He calls us to make a decision. He stands before the conscience of each person and asks, are you with me or against me? Based on how we answer that question, we are either united with Him or we are divided from Him. If we choose division, that division extends to all aspects of our lives and our relationships. If there is an area of our lives that does not accept God’s will, we cannot be truly united to God or others who are following him. Jesus wants to set the whole world ablaze with the fire of God’s love, but not by force. Love is based on freedom.

Jesus came for peace, but his peace is not simply a matter of getting along with everyone and having pleasant conversations. It is not enough simply to tolerate one another in peaceful coexistence. The peace of Jesus comes with fire, which brings division because of the truth divides. When we love, we risk offending. Jesus loved the Pharisees enough to risk offending them in order to bring them to truth. This is a very difficult word to live out because our nature would much rather live in a false peace than in truth.

Are we willing to risk losing the respect of others by standing against corrupt or immoral public officials? Are we willing to be “outside the family circle” to speak God’s truth when someone in the family is not living according to God’s law? Our decision for Christ needs to be alive with the fire that Jesus is talking about. We must be willing to suffer division for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Even deeper than the division we experience in our relationships with our parents or children or in-laws is the division the Lord brings into our inner life. The warfare between the flesh and the spirit rages right within us. In the first reading Paul reminds us that we have been set free from our former slavery to sin. Now that we are “slaves of God,” we live in an ever-deepening union with him. This union in freedom and love strengthens our determination to reject sin and remain united to God, no matter what the cost (Pondering the Word The Anawim Way, Liturgical Meditations from 29th to 34th Week in Ordinary Time – October 16, 2011 to November 26, 2011 Cycle A Year I pp. 33-34).


WORD Today (Rom 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53): “Do you think that I’ve come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you but rather division,” (Lk 12:51-53).

But didn’t He always say ‘Peace be with you”? Yes he did – to those who believe and obey His teachings. Christ contradicts the world’s claim that since He is love, He is ok with any kind of lifestyle even those contrary to what He teaches. We can’t be silent when someone is sinning just for the sake of peace.

A Christian must stand up for the Gospel. Christ stood His ground and refused to cooperate with civil authority – the combined might of foreign interests and corrupt local rulers of His time. He preferred death rather than give an inch to the culture that opposed His Truth. When our turn comes, can we have that courage? (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 24 2013).

CATECHISM  a Day: Luke 12:49 – “I’ve come to set the earth on fire. Holy Spirit’s symbol (CCC 696). While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who arose like fire and whose word burned like a torch, brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mt. Carmel. This event was a figure of the fire of the Holy Spirit who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, proclaims Christ as the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Christ says of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues as of fire, the Spirit rests on the disciples on Pentecost and fills them with Himself. Tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as an image of the Holy Spirit (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 24 2013).


Types of Evil are, Moral Evil and Natural Evil: Moral is evil created by mankind, examples of this would be war, murder, rape, nuclear bombs. All around the world we have examples of moral evil from bullying in schools to child soldiers killing in Sierra Leone. Natural is events created by nature which we do not have control of, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and famines created by droughts. All these are natural events.


Monday, October 19, 2015

THURSDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 12:49-53. KAMATUORAN – ATO BA KINING BAROGAN O DAGANAN? Sa pagsangyaw sa Maayong Balita, si Kristo nagsulti dili sa unsay gustong madungog sa mga tawo kondili sa unsay matarong ug sakto. Adunay nidawat sa iyang mensahe ug nisunod sa iyang mga kasugoan. Apan daghan usab ang wala nakagusto sa iyang gipangtudlo ug nasuko kaniya. Tungod kang Kristo nagkabahinbahin ang mga tawo, bisan gani diha sa mga panimalay. Kining ebanghelyo maghagit kanato sa pagbarog ug pagpanalipod sa kamatuoran. Atong babagan ug sawayon ang mga daotang binuhatan bisan kon ang naghimo niini atong mga igsoon o kahigalaan. Dili maayo nga kita mopiyong o walay buhaton atubangan sa mga daotan. Sakto ang pahimangno ni Desmund Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Reflection for October 22, Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 12:49-53

Reflection: Are you ready to stand for Jesus even if it creates division?

All along we have this impression of Jesus as a unifying factor, as a man of peace. But what the gospel presents to us is contrary to these images of Jesus. Because what we have is a divisive Jesus that creates conflict amongst family members.

Indeed, Jesus creates conflict amongst family members even friends. That is who Jesus is, He is not afraid to create a wedge amongst us so that we will straighten our crooked ways. For example, if some members of your family don’t want to go to Sunday Mass, what will you do? Will you simply keep quiet and just let it be? Of course not!

You have to speak and gently remind those members of your family who don’t want to worship God at Mass. Another example, let us say that a member of your family had a pregnancy out of wedlock and a member of your family is suggesting an abortion. Will you simply keep silent about it? Of course not!

A true follower is someone who is not afraid to say what is in his mind even if it is unpopular. Even if it creates temporary division among members of your family and friends.

Let us always remember that as followers of Jesus it is always our responsibility to gently correct those whom we feel are going against the will of God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


STAND UP FOR JESUS – “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” – Luke 12:51

John and Jackie, with their daughter, Jessa, attended prayer meetings as a family and even served in the community. But after eight months, Jessa eloped with her boyfriend and revealed that she was pregnant.

John, frustrated, asked the Lord why this happened. He became quiet and stern. He stopped attending prayer services. For her part, Jackie thought she fell short of being a caring mom. But despite what happened, she continued to love her daughter. She also remained faithful and hopeful in the Lord, not allowing their trial to draw her away from God.

Trials test our faith and, at times, even our relationships. Sometimes being faithful to God may set us at odds with those we love dearly. But if we keep the faith —continuously living and standing up for Jesus — we’ll eventually be vindicated. After years of fervent prayer and persistent prodding, Jackie, who had become an active servant, one day proudly came to their prayer meeting this time, with John and Jessa. Everyone warmly and happily welcomed them. Sol Saura (

Reflection: Are there people in your life who ridicule you or persecute you because God doesn’t answer their prayers?

Lord, may the “divisions” in our lives allow us to remain faithful to You; that someday everyone will see You in us and we shall be united in worshipping You.


FOR OR AGAINST? “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” – Luke 12:51

What would have been a pleasant exchange of Christmas greetings turned out to be a severe reprimand. Pope Francis, in his address to the Roman Curia last December 22, 2014, said that the Curia, “like any human body, is also exposed to diseases. They are diseases and temptations which weaken our service to the Lord.” He gave them a “listing” of the 15 diseases that plague them, like “terrorism of gossip”; “indifference to others”; “excessive planning” that tries to box the movement of the Holy Spirit; “spiritual Alzheimer’s”; “careerism and opportunism… thinking only of what they can get and not of what they should give,” etc.

He did this to help them in their examination of conscience in preparation for Christmas, saying that “healing comes through an awareness of our sickness.”

Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom is a purifying fire. His message will either be accepted or rejected and will be a source of conflict and division. There is no middle ground with Jesus. It’s either you are for Him or against Him. Which one will it be? Judith Concepcion (

Reflection: When was the last time you were convicted of your sins and weaknesses through a Bible verse, a homily or a loving correction from someone? How did you respond?

Lord, grant me the grace to humbly admit my sins and resolve to correct them. I only want to please You.


October 22, 2015

Thursday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Rom 6:19-23, Lk 12:49-53

On Fire – Burning With Zeal

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus making some surprising statements. We always associate Jesus with love and peace. But today we heard him saying, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Then he explains how because of him the houses will be divided. But, why does he allow this to happen? Because according to prophesy he will be known as the prince of peace. At his birth the angels sang songs of jubilation in the heavens and peace on earth. During the Holy Mass we wish each other peace in the name of Jesus. Then why does he predict division? Why did he say, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing”? These words cause confusion only if we take his words literally. When God asked Prophet Elijah what he was doing, hiding in a cave, his response was as follows, Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercitum (I am burning with zeal for the Lord, God of hosts). The fact is that Jesus was always on fire. He was constantly burning with the zeal to bring all his prodigal brothers and sisters back to his Father’s house. That was his life’s mission and ambition. He wanted everybody to burn with that very same zeal. Like Sun, God the son too continues to burn with the fire of love. It is in its blaze we have our origin, our life and our fulfillment.

Then what about the division that Jesus speaks about? It is a natural consequence of having options. St Paul writes to Roman’s about two kinds of slavery: slavery to lawlessness and slavery to righteousness. We are invited to make a choice, a conscious option. Being humans we can and we have to make choices in our life. Either we opt for lawlessness or for righteousness. It is not merely within the society or within the family such options and resultant divisions happen, even within each individual such struggle will crop up. Such conflicts are natural and normal. Difference of opinion should lead us to make the right choice. Conflicts need not surprise us. As Pope Francis says, “this has happened since the beginning. What saved the primitive Church from falling apart? It was Paul’s courage to say things to Peter’s face; the courage of the Apostles to meet and discuss among themselves… there will be arguments, but blessed be God, because a Church where there are no arguments is a dead Church. Do you know where there is no argument? In the cemeteries, no one argues anything, no one, even the son-in-law puts flowers on his mother-in-law because he knows she won’t argue.” Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Eph 3: 2-12; Lk: 12:39-48

Misuse of Positions

On Friday the 11th this month a Holy Mass was offered for Good Governance in the Santa Cruz Church in the Capital city, Manila in Philippines at 12.00 pm which was followed by the ringing of Church Bells all over the nation in protest against the much talked about public scam called the pork barrel, which originally was a fund set apart for the senators and the public representatives to use for the developmental work solely depending on their discretion. The practice became as nastily corrupted as each one used this fund for welling up and augmenting his own selfish interests. This plundering of the public money deprived multitudes of the poor people of their basic needs and provisions and the country ultimately woke up and people started to take to the streets. The nation- wide ringing of the church bells was a gesture from the part of the church to show solidarity with the waging public against this menace.

Today’s gospel passage speaks of how power and authority is to be used. This is a telling parable for all who hold leadership positions in the society. The pork barrel mentioned in the first paragraph is a typical example of how one can misuse one’s position and power for one’s own selfish motives and turn a blind eye to the responsibilities entrusted. When James and John were dreaming of power, “Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognise as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.  But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.’” (Mark 10:42-44).  And he added that even he himself came “not to be served but to serve.”

In the gospel today, Jesus tells us, “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come”. It will do a great lot of good if we understand the meaning of the famous dictum Authority is for Service.  We all are servants and all of us will have to give an account of our Talents (the responsibilities, energies, knowledge, time….) entrusted to us. Blessed would be those who would be found faithful by the master in discharging his duties with diligence and devotion. As Christians and believers, we are called to be loyal to our communities and families, to our marital and religious commitments, to our duties and obligations as parents, teachers, leaders and citizens.

Let us lead our Christian life in such a way that we may not have to regret at the end of our life, when, perhaps we may be caught unguarded, but rather be ever vigilant and watchful, serving with fidelity and commitment so that our yesterdays would be fondly cherished and our tomorrows would be eagerly waited for. Fr. V. J. Joshi CMI


October 20, 2016

The English language has a lot of expressions involving the idea of cold and heat. For example, it speaks of someone being cold-blooded, cold-hearted, of giving someone the cold shoulder, etc. And these expressions all imply a lack of feeling or a lack of intensity. On the other hand, it speaks of someone being hot-blooded or hot-tempered or hot-headed etc. These expressions imply passion, excitement, etc.

Well, in today’s gospel reading Jesus leaves us no doubt about the purpose he has in coming among us. He tells us straight out: “I have come to bring fire upon the earth.” This fire of his is love, of course. And real, pure love admits of no half-measures. It necessarily refines and purifies all that is contrary to it: selfish concerns, petty pride, envy and jealousy. That is why, in a Semitic short-cut which presents us as an intended goal what is only an unintended consequence, he adds that he has come to bring division among people: some will accept his message of love, and some will reject it.

Our presence here today testifies that we are among those who accept it. Let us love, therefore, with all our hearts.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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