Jesus tells his disciples he came to bring fire on the earth

Fr Paul reads today’s Gospel from Luke (12:49-53) in which Jesus tells his disciples he came to bring fire on earth.

Fr Paul says today’s Gospel seems to be a real contradiction in terms as Jesus alludes in the first part that he came to bring to peace and harmony but then he goes on to say the complete opposite, using the example of the family to do so.  This makes it all the more terrible for the Jewish listeners because in Judaism the family is the basic unit; It sticks together through thick and thin. Jesus talking about the family this way would be totally shocking to the Jewish hearer because the family is sacred.  The family is important.

Bearing this in mind, Fr Paul says, Jesus is teaching that even the most sacred earthly ties are less important than loyalty to him and he deliberately uses the family to make his point.

Fr Paul notes that, in the coming days and weeks, we are coming up to a collection of instructions that Jesus gives to the disciples to continue the mission he has begun after he goes away.

Jesus is leaving the disciples (and us) in no doubt that, as important as family is, it will on occasion, come second to our loyalty to the mission and to the person of Jesus Christ.