Today’s Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) struck me with its insistence that we act. Never mind that we will cause conflict or that our words will be met with unrest and resentment and opposition. As long as we are using a fully formed conscience in acting on the word of God, we should expect to create a ‘mess’. Our Lord clearly tells us that He came, not to “give peace on earth”, but rather to cause “division”. This ‘messiness’ was also spoken of recently by the Holy Father at World Youth Day. To a secular ear, this might sound like an invitation to become a rabble rouser – creating havoc in our wake, as we tread on the toes of others in hapless fashion. But that isn't what is intended at all.
Jesus tells us, "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” So, if we are to burn with the fire of God’s inspiration, we must put His urgings into action by creating a spark in our own corner of the world – wherever that may be. It’s unreasonable to think that we are going to go out and completely change the world, all on our own, but we can create a ripple in our immediate surroundings. When we urgently go out and do our part – and give it our very best effort – we can help facilitate what God desires for His people. We aren't charged with being the entire solution but, if we perform our small part, the results will be amazing – because piece by piece and person by person, we will have become a tiny gear of the machine that is the Church Militant. It’s not ours to question whether or not we have created results – as long as we do all we can; the results are left up to God. We are simply His foot soldiers.
When we acknowledge ourselves as tiny parts of a larger picture, we are able to shake our desire for self gratification and vain glory. As each of us produces to the best of his ability, things will naturally (and supernaturally) fall into place. The result will be a world that broadcasts both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – each of us in his own way, using his own gifts. Only then will we begin to realize success in our efforts to save the unborn, feed the hungry and direct the souls of others toward Eternity. As blessed Fulton Sheen said, "Who is going to save our Church? Don't look to the priests, don't look to the bishops. It's up to the laity to remind our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops". But as in all things - in charity. Let each of us seek to do all we can and leave the results up to God's glory!