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THE LOVE OF CHRIST

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Eph. 3:14-21 & Lk. 12:49-53

What a powerful prayer Saint Paul has for the Ephesians and for us - that they and we may grasp the breadth, the length, the height and the depth of Christ's love.

The breadth of Christ's love is immense because it includes the whole human race. Christ died for all people regardless of where they live or ethnic background, be they just or sinner. He does not want to lose one of them.

The length of Christ's love is enormous. He loves each one for the length of their lives, from conception to the last breath they take. He is there at the door of their hearts waiting patiently for people to love Him in return.

The height of Christ's love is beyond measure. He never tires of loving us. Some may reject His love but Jesus like the Good Shepherd will never abandon them. He will go after the one who thinks he is lost.

The depth of Christ’s love is infinite. It extends to when people reach the depths of despair and feel no one cares or loves them. If only they could light a light as small as a match in that black hole of theirs they would see Jesus is there with them - and He wants to lift them into the light and restore their dignity.

Paul ends his prayer by telling us that Christ is so powerful that He can do infinitely more than we can ever ask or imagine. Surely that is enough to tell us there is no more faithful friend than Jesus Who will never let us down. What a wonderful truth to ponder!

Most of us are creatures of habit. We like familiar routines and often seek security from things we can control. "Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth?" Jesus asks in today's Gospel. "No, I tell you, but division." How difficult His words can sometimes be! His message is not just of peace and joy, but one of division and struggle as well. This is because He has come to separate darkness from light, and our fallen nature resists such separation.

It is in the nature of Jesus' Cross to refine us by dividing flesh from Spirit. Just as He triumphed over sin, so now He seeks to establish that victory in the lives of each of us. The more we allow His fire to cleanse us, difficult though it may be, the greater will be our inheritance at the end of time. And the greater will be our peace in this life.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, wants us to understand that His peace will fill us as we decide to follow Him, walking in His ways. Christian discipleship is costly; it can even cause divisions in families. But in even the most trying of circumstances, Jesus commands us and empowers us to love our "enemies and pray for those persecute" us (Mt 5:44). This is our choice and our blessing" in the midst of family conflicts. It flows freely as we recall God's mercy towards us and place our faith in the Holy Spirit's presence within us.

As we remain faithful to Jesus in our daily prayer and Scripture reading, and as we participate in the Church's liturgies and ministries, we will know the Spirit’s presence within us. He will strengthen and guide us through every conflict and struggle. Jesus assures us, "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33).

Heavenly Father, You made us Your children through faith in Jesus Christ. Through the merits of His life, death and resurrection, set us completely free of every affection to sin. No matter how hard our path may be may we be assured that Your Spirit will help us to overcome every obstacle.

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