22Oct 22 October, 2020. Thursday of Week 29

22 October, 2020. Thursday of Week 29

St John Paul II, pope (Opt. Mem.)

1st Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

May you grasp the depth of Christ’s love, beyond all knowledge

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, praying that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial: from Psalm 33

R./: The Lord fills the earth with his love

Ring our your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs. (R./)

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love. (R./)

His own designs shall stand for ever,
the plans of his heart
from age to age.
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own. (R./)

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 12:49-53

Lighting a fire on the earth, Christ also causes deep divisions

Jesus said to his disciples: “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptised, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No,I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”


Servants of justice

There’s a high-level anthropology in Ephesians. Its vision of human potential centres on God’s love for us, a love beyond logical reason. If we are able to fully explain why we love someone, our love may be shallow. The love that God pus in us makes “servants” of us, not in an anxious, fearful spirit but a spirit full of joy. Our full dignity is as “servants of justice.” If we stake everything on Christ and eternal life, we experience a new level of love and full integrity of body and soul.

In the gospel Jesus is fully caught up in the doing the Father’s will. The language is emotional, “How I wish the blaze were ignited!” He is thinking about his coming passion and death. He was “firmly resolved to go to Jerusalem” where he would meet his fate. Yet, when the time came for his arrest, Jesus was plunged into agony. He prayed in Gethsemane, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me.”.. and in terrible anguish he prayed so intensely that he sweated like drops of blood (Lk 22:42,44).

It is in this context that he talks of what conflicts his followers may have to face. Bitter arguments about faith can split families apart, each faction resenting the other. But such divisions need not last, because Jesus has a unique ability to break down barriers and even to bond Jew and gentile, male and female, servant and free into one united people. Only in this way can the justice of God, and God’s plan for the world, be fully accomplished.


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