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20th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Can I feel the fire within that leads me to speak
out and speak up despite the consequences?

The central theme of today’s readings is that we should courageously live out our religious convictions and principles in our lives, as Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus did, even if doing so should result in our martyrdom and turn society upside down. If no one is ever offended by the quality of our commitment to Christ, then perhaps we are practicing “inoffensive Christianity.”

Jeremiah, in our first reading, is presented as experiencing the consequences of the burning word of God within him. Jeremiah's preaching divided the city and incited such opposition that people sought his death. He showed the courage of his prophetic conviction by telling the king that he had to surrender to the mighty army of Babylonian empire to save Israel. The result was that Jeremiah was thrown into a deep, muddy unused cistern to die for his "treason."

The refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 40), has us sing what could have been Jeremiah’s plea to God, “Lord! Come to my aid!”

Standing in this prophetic tradition, Paul, in the second reading, challenges the JudeoChristians to stand firm in their Faith in Jesus, ignoring the ostracism imposed on them by their own former Jewish community.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, too, preaches the word of God which continues to divide families, a word which, he knew, would lead to his death. The fire Jesus brings is the fire of love and the fire of hope. The disruption, division, and revolution, which Jesus and his true followers cause in society by the fire of sacrificial love and the fire of justice, are necessary to re-set what is fractured, put right what's dislocated and cleanse what is infected. In other words, the curative pain caused by Jesus’ ideas and ideals is necessary for the establishment of real shalom of God. Even though Jesus brings a sword and causes division, he is the bringer of true and lasting peace. In pursuing his mission, Jesus brings division because some follow him and others oppose him. We must make a decision to follow him or not, to share his "baptism" or not. This choice can result in division, even within families

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Christ the Kings Church
20 W. Wakea Ave
Kahului, HI 96732

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