Memory of the Church

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Memorial of blessed Giuseppe Puglisi, priest of the Church of Palermo, who was killed by mafia in 1993.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 12,49-53

'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 what constraint I am under until it is completed! '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; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While urging his disciples to be vigilant, Jesus also tells them that the moment of decision has come. With Jesus the last times have come, and there can be no further delay in choosing the Gospel. To make the disciples understand his concern, Jesus uses the image of the fire that he himself came to bring into the world: "I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already aflame!" Revelation also describes the image of the angel who, at the end of time, throws fire on the earth (8:5). Jesus wants the disciples to abandon every attitude of being lazy, slow, cold, closed, so that they can make his concern and restlessness their own. Jesus will be uneasy until the flames of love flare up in the heart of all human beings. Therefore, the disciple is not called to a greedy and tranquil life oriented toward personal or even communal well-being, but rather is called by Jesus to immerse him or herself in the Gospel as if to be baptized, that is, immersed, in it, and become gospel him or herself, that is good news to the city and the world. It is the sense of the words from the apostle Paul when he said: "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). Following Jesus demands separation from one's old life based on world ties, including family ones. Only the Gospel is the fire that saves and changes the world, and it starts with each individual heart. Paul will say that "Christ is our peace" (Eph 2:14), and the Lord himself said: "Blessed are the peacemakers." In this spiritual contest, there is no contradiction here between peace and the sword. The peace which Jesus brings is not like the one the world gives (Jn 14:27), it is not a greedy tranquillity or security in one's own traditions. In order to enjoy the peace that comes from the Gospel, purification by fire is necessary, separation of good and evil, discernment between the light that Jesus comes to bring to the world and the darkness of evil.