“Ready risk, Aim axe, FIRE!”
Twenty-Ninth Week of Year II Thursday October 20, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm urges us to draw courage by reflecting on God’s presence and love: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33).
In Ephesians 3: 14-21 Paul’s starting point is that God’s “power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” And what Paul asks for us is far beyond what we can imagine:
that Christ may dwell in your hearts…. that love will be the root and foundation of your lives….that you may grasp fully… the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses knowledge….
And all this: “so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Then through us, living and acting as the embodiment of Christ’s love, the earth will indeed be “full of the goodness of the Lord”
This is our task as “stewards of the kingship of Christ.” It is also our vision, our obsession and our dream.
This is the “fire” Jesus said in Luke 12: 49-53 that he came to “light on earth.” The fire of God’s own love blazing in the hearts of all who live by his life; the fire of God’s driving love animating and orienting everything people do in this world; the fire of God’s passionate compassion consuming hurts and cauterizing wounds in every body and soul; the fire of God’s boundless mercy responding without limits to every human need; the fire of God’s love burning with zeal for justice, “laying the axe to the root” of every destructive and damaging social structure and aberration in society; the fire of God’s love for truth driving away all darkness, reducing to ashes every error and distortion, exposing every cover-up and “spin.”
This fire is not universally welcome. “This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”1 Some people will try to extinguish both the fire and those who bear it. We are stewards of truth at our risk.
But it is a risk we embrace. What proves — even to our own self-deprecating hearts — how much we love God is how much we are willing to lose for God: whether through the deliberate renunciations of monastic life or through the inevitable risks of social and professional involvement in a world opposed to Gospel principles. And more is at risk than money: Jesus warns that “Households will be divided: father against son and… mother against daughter.” Faithful stewardship subjects us to the “refiner’s fire” that brings all love to perfection.2 No matter what, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.”