THE FIRE CARRIED BY JESUS
Along the road of Galilee Jesus pushes on to spread the «fire» that burns in his heart. In Christian tradition there remain many footprints of his desire. Luke collects it this way: «I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!». An apocryphal Gospel much later remembers another saying that could come from Jesus: «The one who is close to me is close to the fire. The one who is far from me is far from the Reign».
Jesus wants the fire that he carries within to truly blaze forth, to not be put out by anyone, to spread through all the Earth, and to be embraced by the whole world. Whoever comes close to Jesus with eyes open and heart awakened goes about discovering that the «fire» that burns within is the passion for God and compassion for those who suffer. This is what moves us and makes us go about seeking God’s reign and God’s justice all the way to death.
The passion for God and for the poor comes from Jesus, and only is lit in his followers when they contact his Gospel and his renewing Spirit. It goes way beyond what’s conventional. It has little to do with the routine of good order and the frigidity of what’s normative. Without this fire, Christian life ends up being extinguished.
The big sin of Christians would always be to allow this fire of Jesus to go out. What good is a Church of Christians who are comfortably installed in life, without any passion for God or compassion for those who suffer? Why would the world need Christians who are incapable of attracting, of giving light, of offering warmth?
Jesus’ words invite us to let ourselves be enflamed by his Spirit without getting lost in secondary and marginal questions. Whoever doesn’t let themselves be set on fire by Jesus doesn’t yet know the transforming power that he wanted to introduce into the Earth. Someone could correctly practice Christian religion, but not yet discover what’s more passionate in the Gospel.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf