August 13, 2016
In today's gospel, Christ comes to "set the world on fire," and wishes, "it were already blazing" (Luke 12:49). The image of fire is used throughout scripture in both the literal sense which brings destruction, devastation and punishment for disobedience; and in the spiritual sense, as an image of purification, illumination and is often used to describe the Holy Spirit. Christ's longing for the world to be set ablaze is not in reference to His just punishment for our disobedience, but rather in anticipation of the promise of the Holy Spirit for our sanctification.
John the Baptist prophesizes of the one who, "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11). This baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire was first celebrated at Pentecost in anticipation of the building of the church. "Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire... and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:3,4) Today we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation to confirm our belief in the Catholic Church, receive the Holy Spirit and continue the work set out by the apostles.
The fire impressed upon our souls in the indelible mark of the Sacrament of Confirmation gives us the strength, courage and wisdom to live out the gospel and change the world. So often in working with the children of our parish, I see the sacraments, graces and teachings of Christ set the hearts of all who receive them ablaze with the love of God. Sadly, and all too often, that blaze is not kept aflame but rather doused out by the ways of the world.
As we prepare to begin another year of
in our parish, I wish to stress the importance of continued faith education. It is not merely enough that we celebrate the sacraments as a sort of milestone or obligation, but rather that we work to feed the flame imparted to us by Christ every day. By furthering our faith education through catechism, bible studies, prayer, attending and participating in Mass, we are instructed on how to put into action the teachings and messages of Christ. Through the process, we are also brought together to witness to others that we are not divided, but rather gathered in trough. St. John Bosco said that, "school is not the end; it is rather the instrumental means for improving the way of life." I encourage you to investigate ways in which you can further your spiritual life through continued faith education in one of the many programs offered in our parish. I also ask for your prayers for our youth, adults and catechists as we begin our religious education programs.
Thank you for joining me in my reflection and may God bless.
Melany A. Gallegos