“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. “
Following God’s way, truth, and life can cause fire and division in you and around you. The cute and banal Jesus of popular piety is a reflection of the wish to avoid the conflict that comes with maturity and responsibility. This is not the pattern followed by Abraham, Moses, the prophets of Israel, Mary of Nazareth, and Jesus of Nazareth. They chose the narrow way of fire and division. The Jesus of bland conformity will get you nowhere, but you will fit in if that is what you prefer.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Either the world will call you a fool or God will call you a fool. Most of us seek a compromise; a safe religiosity without fire or division. We think this will bring peace, but peace is not always the absence of conflict.
The fire of divine love, the very same fire that burns at the heart of God and sets the universe in motion, is the only thing that can give enough light for us to know truth, and it is the only thing that can purify our freedom of will. The division between reality and unreality, between the mind (the logos) of Christ and the mind of the world, is the only way to know what is truly at stake in the decisions God places before every adult human being. Our freedom to see, to know, and to choose well is a sure sign of God’s love.