Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“I have come to bring fire to the earth”

Anyone who has been trying to live a life of faith knows all about conflict. There is the internal conflict of trying to overcome our selfishness and sin. All too often the people around us find our faith a challenge which puts them at odds with us. In our culture there are those who find the very notion of our faith to be confrontational.

When the gospel was written, the fact of the divisions that the early Christians were facing is reflected in today’s passage. There is a sense that just as Jesus himself faced opposition and ultimately death, so too, his followers too will not have an easy journey. Perhaps this week we might allow the Lord to minister to us in our difficulties.

As you begin these reflections each day spend a few moments repeating the phrase “Speak Lord, your servant/child is listening.” Then read the short passage from Sunday’s readings until you have memorised it. Read the questions and give yourself time to deeply consider your response. Once you have reflected for a few minutes, speak to the Lord, as you would to a friend, about what you have reflected upon.



Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over. (Luke 12:49-50)

  • What does the image of fire bring to mind?
  • What is the fire Jesus wishes were blazing in your life?
  • When have you felt distress?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about his baptism.



Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three. (Luke 12:51-52)

  • How does this teaching challenge you?
  • What are the divisions in your family?
  • What are the divisions in your heart?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about following him.



With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. (Hebrews 12:1)

  • Who are the witnesses that you look to for inspiration?
  • What is the sin that clings so easily in your life?
  • What else hinders you from following the Lord?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about his presence in your life.



Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. (Hebrews 11:2)

  • Have you ever lost sight of Jesus?
  • Reflect on the shamefulness of the cross.
  • What parts of your faith need to be brought to perfection?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about what he endured for you.



Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death. (Hebrews 12:3-4)

  • Reflect on the opposition that Jesus received.
  • How does sin in your life oppose what Jesus wants of you?
  • Have you ever given up for want of courage?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about the fight against sin.



I waited, I waited for the Lord and he stooped down to help me; he heard my cry. He drew me from the deadly pit, from the miry clay. He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm. (Psalm 39:2-3)

  • When has the Lord heard your cry for help?
  • What has the Lord pulled you out of?
  • What the rock upon which you are secure?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about his steadfastness.



The king’s leading men spoke to the king. ‘Let Jeremiah be put to death: he is unquestionable disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. The fellow does not have the welfare of his people at heart so much as its ruin.  (Jeremiah 38:4)

  • Jeremiah’s warnings of disaster were to be silenced. Who have you tried to silence when they’ve challenged you?
  • What disheartens you about yourself?
  • Have you ever faced opposition because of the Lord?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about your welfare.

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