If I may use human terms to help your natural weakness: as once you put your bodies at the service of vice and immorality, so now you must put them at the service of righteousness for your sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you felt no obligation to righteousness, and what did you get from this? Nothing but experiences that now make you blush, since that sort of behaviour ends in death. Now, however, you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves of God, and you get a reward leading to your sanctification and ending in eternal life. For the wage paid by sin is death; the present given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 1 Happy are they who hope in the Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!
‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
Jesus came to bring fire to the earth and wishes that it were already blazing. This prefigures the fire of the Holy Spirit; at the beginning of the Acts, Luke describes the Holy Spirit coming down on the disciples like tongues of fire. But Jesus knows he cannot send the Holy Spirit until he has undergone his passion and death, what he calls a “baptism I must receive.” Knowing he will soon suffer this ordeal, he admits that his distress is great until it is over.
He desperately wanted to get through his ordeal, so that the fire of the Holy Spirit could begin to blaze. This ordeal will be shared by his disciples also. Because of sharing in the mission of Jesus some families will be divided. Some family members will welcome the gospel, and some will reject it. The Lord’s coming and presence touches the depths of our humanity in ways that can cause deep divisions. Regardless of the consequences, our vocation is to let the fire that Jesus has ignited burn within us. We trust in the Holy Spirit to enkindle in us the fire of his love.
Gesù è venuto a portare il fuoco sulla terra e desidera che sia già ardente. Questo prefigura il fuoco dello Spirito Santo; all’inizio degli Atti, Luca descrive lo Spirito Santo che scende sui discepoli come lingue di fuoco. Ma Gesù sa di non poter inviare lo Spirito Santo fino a quando non avrà subito la sua passione e morte, quello che chiama “il battesimo che devo ricevere”. Sapendo che presto subirà questa prova, ammette che la sua angoscia è grande finché non sarà finita.
Desidera disperatamente superare la prova, affinché il fuoco dello Spirito Santo possa iniziare a divampare. Questa prova sarà condivisa anche dai suoi discepoli. A causa della condivisione della missione di Gesù, alcune famiglie saranno divise. Alcuni membri della famiglia accoglieranno il Vangelo, altri lo rifiuteranno. La venuta e la presenza del Signore toccano le profondità della nostra umanità in modi che possono causare profonde divisioni. Indipendentemente dalle conseguenze, la nostra vocazione è lasciare che il fuoco che Gesù ha acceso arda dentro di noi. Confidiamo nello Spirito Santo affinché accenda in noi il fuoco del suo amore.