Words of Spirit and Life

"Today Jesus asks us to let him become our King. A King that with His word, His example and his immolated life on the cross.." – Pope Francis

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 18th Aug 2019


  • Jeremiah 38:4-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 39:2-4. 18. R/ v. 14;
  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Luke 12:49-53

Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus came not to bring peace, but to bring division! That is, Jesus came to bring peace, but his peace was rejected and that is why there was division! (HCSB)

The gospel today tells us that a family of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father against the son and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother, and the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.

The division is between those who accept Jesus and those who reject Jesus!

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that the rejection of Jesus brought about his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which brought about unity and peace! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“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!’” (Lk 12:49-50; SM)

The fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of God’s love that will burn away our sins and divisions and unite us in peace in God’s love! (NJB; Lefrois) The baptism is the baptism of the cross of his death and resurrection from which the fire of the Holy Spirit is lit! (NJB)

The first reading tells us that Jeremiah was thrown into a well to die by the officials of the king, because he prophesied that they should surrender to the Babylonians or Jerusalem will be destroyed by the Babylonians! But more importantly, the first reading tells us that Jeremiah was saved from the well by an Ethiopian official of the king’s house!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving for salvation (vv. 2-11) and a prayer for help (vv. 12-18). Usually the psalms have it in a reverse order, that is, a prayer for help and a thanksgiving for salvation. (NJBC) We will read the responsorial psalm in this order. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is a prayer for help:

“Lord, come to my aid!” (Ps 39:14; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The fourth stanza (v. 18) like the response is a prayer for help. The first, second and third stanzas (vv. 2-4) are a thanksgiving for salvation! Note verse 4b of the third stanza:

“Many shall see and fear and shall trust in the Lord.”

That is, many shall see and be awed by the salvation of the psalmist and put their trust in the Lord and be saved themselves!

The first reading and the responsorial psalm prefigure Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world!

The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of the previous Sunday. The second reading of the previous Sunday tells us about the example of faith of Abraham. The second reading today tells us about the example of faith of Jesus himself.

The second reading today tells us that Jesus held on to his faith in God his Father and endured the shameful death of the cross and is now glorified in heaven! In the same way in our fight against sin we must hold on to our faith until death, resurrection and glorification!

But Jesus is not only an example of faith. Through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit he perfects our faith so that we will fight sin until death and resurrection and glory! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.” (Heb 12: 2-4; SM)

Today we thank God for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us peace, shalom, salvation! Today we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that as Christians and as followers of Jesus Christ, we may also bring peace, shalom, salvation to the whole world! God bless you! Amen!

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