Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 18, 2019)

During the past several Sundays, the Church has presented us with some of the challenges we will face as disciples of Jesus.

We will have to learn to let go of our possessions, and even of our desire to possess. Jesus calls us to be generous, sharing whatever we have with those who are in need. Last Sunday, we were cautioned to be watchful and ready. Jesus will come to us in ways that will surprise us. And today, Jesus tells us that our efforts to be faithful disciples may cause dissension, even in our families.

All of us would like to believe that following Jesus would lead us to peace. Jesus is telling us very clearly that that may not be the case. We have only to look at Jesus’ life. It wasn’t the case for him – and he is Lord and Master and could have done something about it.

Long before Jesus, the prophet Jeremiah suffered because of the message God gave him to deliver to his people. Despite his suffering, Jeremiah continued to call the people to hear God’s word to them.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we are part of a long tradition of witnesses to God’s faithfulness. We are encouraged to persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. As we heard: “For the sake of the joy that lay before him, Jesus endured the cross and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” Jesus’ example is meant to give us hope so that we will persevere.

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus each day! That becomes our way to keep focus as we go about our daily living. We ask Jesus to be with us as our strength. We ask him to show us the way to our Father’s home through the ups and downs of life.

When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, when we let him live in us, we can be sure that whatever fire we may have to enter in our life, we will always emerge more purified, like fire-tried gold. Jesus is at our side.