A fire has been kindled from my wrath

(Deuteronomy 32. 22)

He hated confrontations.
He lived on his own in a cave.
To avoid unnecessary problems, he built two altars in his small abode.
One for Mohammed, and one for Christ.
When a Muslim would visit, he would unearth the first altar
and pray with him in front of Mohammed.
When a Christian knight came along, he would reveal him the other altar
and bow down before Christ.
Thus he made everyone happy.
And he was left to live in peace.

Life forces all of us to make many compromises.
A good number of us, willy-nilly, serve God and the evil one,
Jesus Christ and the world.

In church we listen subdued to the priests,
but once we are outside the temple,
we follow our own ethics and our own convictions.

In the ‘Our Father’ we claim that we are willing to forgive those who trespass against us,
but in real life, dare anyone try to do us an injustice
because hell erupts!

We argue convincingly that God provides,
but deep down we know
that if we don’t provide for ourselves,
God will not send down manna from heaven.

We say that God knows better than us what we need
and then we plan our lives according to our dictates,
like using all means so as to avoid children in the first years of marriage.

We say that there is another life after death,
and we are frightened of death.

What is this charade?
Christians should be an argument in favour of Christ.
We should reflect Christ.
Our hearts and minds should be synchronized with His.
Our lives would resemble His.
And yet… and yet…

The first Christians had a saying that stated that
whoever is close to Christ is close to a burning fire.
Jesus himself said once, “Fire I came to bring on earth.”
And the prophet declared that “Yahweh is like a refiner’s fire.”

He is a fire!
A fire that burns whatever is not Him
whatever distances us from him:
sin, pride, avarice, sloth…
A fire that illumines our reality,
it shows us how often we deceive ourselves,
because sometimes we think we are doing good to others
when really we are harming them.
This fire manifests how very often
our neurotic love for our husband or wife or children
chokes them and does not allow them to grow freely.
This fire shows us how mistaken are our calculations
and how we are afraid to risk
when Christianity has risk embedded in its DNA.

Above all, Jesus Christ is a fire that warms.
He is the only fire that can warm our coldness,
and thaw our rigidity.

Come Lord Jesus!
We need you!

"See now that I myself am He!
       There is no god besides me.
       I put to death and I bring to life,
       I have wounded and I will heal,
       and no one can deliver out of my hand.”

(Deuteronomy 32.39)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.