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Saturday, second week of Advent (St. Damasus I)

December 11, 2010

Blessed St. Damasus’ Day!

Click here to read his story.

Lord, let Your glory dawn to take away our darkness.
May we be revealed as the children of light at the coming of Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Readings:
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11 (the glory of Elijah)
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 “Lord, make us turn to You,
let us see Your Face and we shall be saved”
+ Matthew 17:10-13 (Jesus refers to St. John the Baptist as Elijah)

Our God is a consuming fire
-Hebrew 12:29

It should come as no surprise that He sets His people on fire.

Elijah and St. John the Baptist (“Elijah who is to come”),
both burned with holy fire;
both ablaze with a zeal for God’s holiness, His kingdom,
that could not be quenched by persecution or even death.

The fire Elijah called down from Heaven was the fire that burned in his own heart;
burning with a hunger for the righteousness that sets things right,
that radically realigns the heart of the wicked to embrace justice and integrity,
turning the hearts of fathers to their sons,
re-establishing the unity rent asunder by national rebellion.

St. John the Baptist burned with this same fire,
not only calling the riffraff to repentance,
but denouncing the religious leaders with scathing words (see Matthew 3:7)
and calling King Herod himself to repentance–in detail (see Matthew 14:1-12).

It cost him his head.

Handling fire has that effect.

True peace has a price.

Jesus said as much:

I have come to light a fire on the earth.
How I wish the blaze were ignited!
-Luke 12:49

He observed, referring to St. John the Baptist,

they did as they pleased with him.
The Son of Man will suffer at their hands in the same way.
-Matthew 17:12

The fire Jesus came to light fell at Pentecost (see Acts 2:1-4).
Men and women, ablaze with this divine conflagration, carried it to the ends of the earth,
touching off new fires wherever they went.
Neither persecution nor threats nor even death could stop them.

That fire still burns.
Each of us were baptized in it on the day of our Confirmation.

It’s easier to tell in other parts of the world–Africa, the Middle East, India, China, etc.–
places where Catholics are persecuted, homes burned, men imprisoned,
women forced into abortion, families murdered.
We see the fire in their heroism (if we hear about them at all).

But there is fire here too,
although a lot of it is flickering feebly under bushel baskets or beds.
Jesus told us plainly that He wants it at least on a lampstand! (see Luke 8:16)
Yes, it will make us a target, especially when it’s so dark.
But light is our identity.
We are the light of the world! (see Matthew 5:14)

In this season of Advent as the darkness grows blacker
our light, lit from the divine Consuming Fire, needs to shine brighter.

Where’s your fire?

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