Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! …Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No. I tell you, but rather division.”
People who approach the Bible for the very first time may be surprised to discover that the Church offers us only three basic guidelines for reading it: (1) Be attentive “to the content and unity of the whole scripture; (2) Read it within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”; (3) Be attentive to the analogy of faith (keep in mind the Creed).
Take, for example, today’s Gospel passage. Imagine for a moment if you just read this passage and neglected all the others? That kind of impression would you have of Jesus? Isn’t this the problem with some brands of Protestantism? They tend to memorize certain scriptural verses and build a church around it. On a very positive note, Protestants devour Scripture, unlike far too many Catholics.
Set the world on fire. It’s behind me now, but I still remember those days when I needed to make the most difficult decision of my life: to decide whether or not to leave my family and work and follow the Lord. Those days were truly the most difficult days of my life. I can still remember the phone conversation I had with the vocation recruiter. I was trying very hard to explain to him how it made much more sense to wait one more year and then enter the seminary. I will never forget what he said: “If you don’t enter now, you will never enter.” In my heart, I knew he was right. I knew I was just feeding my fears and making excuses for my lack of faith. I was afraid. I didn’t know what I would do if this crazy “idea of mine” didn’t work out. I told him I needed some guarantees, a backup plan. He told me, “Burn all your bridges and don’t look back.”
That’s what the Lord did. That’s what He knew He would have to do: “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!”
What does it mean to set the world on fire? Does it meant to leave death and destruction wherever you go like the Nazis did in the 1940’s? Does it mean to set your pants on fire like the Hippies did in the 1960’s? [that is, look for every sensual pleasure known to man?].
What does it mean to set the world on fire? It means to leave a trail of love wherever you go! It means to set a fire, to question everything, out of love.
Question everything! I love it (not really) when Catholic billionaires tell simple folks like us that they were “taught” to “question everything”. They don’t know what they are talking about. The only thing they ever questioned was what they were taught to question, and that was what their teachers were already “questioning”.
I find it comical that “those” who question the moral teachings of the Catholic Church came to the same conclusions as those who were teaching them.
How pathetic! That’s not questioning everything! That’s just repeating everything! They are not thinking. They are just living like a puppet or a parrot!
You want to know someone who questioned everything? Look to the Lord. No one questioned everything like He did. No one! And no one ever taught us to question everything like He did. Remember when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:43-48).
Now that’s questioning everything: everything we ever knew; everything we ever experienced; everything we were ever taught; everything that comes naturally; everything that makes sense; everything that is logical.
It’s shocking! No! It’s actually explosive! It will start a fire!
If you wish to “question everything”, then start with your own evil and selfish thoughts; start with your lifestyle. Question that. Question the sins you are committing. Don’t pretend to question what you have already rejected.
That’s not questioning. That’s fibbing.
The Lord set the world on fire just like he created the world: With Love. The Big Bang is an explosion of God’s creative Love. Forgiveness is an explosion of God’s re-creative love. The Cross is an explosion of God’s amazing love. The Resurrection is an explosion of God’s everlasting love.
To light a fire, start by questioning everything! To keep it going, live by faith! To make it larger, think logically. To make it spread, love illogically. These are not the thoughts of a madman or a liar. These are the thoughts of our Lord.