Today’s gospel reading gives us a picture of Jesus that is very different from what we usually hear and read. We are familiar with Jesus’ helpful teachings and scenes of healing. We see the side of him that brings peace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy.
But there is another side of Jesus the Christ portrayed today. “I have come to set the earth on fire” and “I have come for division – not peace.” This is a jarring and rattling message to hear. It is similar to the scene of the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem.
When John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing, he pointed out that he (John) was baptizing with water and Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). Sit with this imagery of fire, the fiery side of Jesus. Does it make you think of something that must be changed in your life?