20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 14, 2022

Theme: Standing Firm Under Trial and Testing

First reading: Jeremiah 23:23-29

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 82:1-8

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:1-6

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:49-56

Homily by Fr. Erel Villanueva

Our gospel today warns us that when we were baptized and decided to follow Jesus, we will encounter conflict and division. Jesus said He came to send fire, symbolizing changes and opposition. These verses seem contradictory because in the birth of Jesus, angels declared peace on earth and good will to men and now He said He did not bring peace on earth but division. It means that there will be peace to those who believe and obey Him and conflict to those who choose not to believe and obey Him. The moment we to stand on His Word, there will be people who will not agree. In our homes, schools, offices, or anywhere. Truly, our faith, submission, and commitment will be tested.

But take heart. Focus on our Lord Jesus, who overcame every opposition even unto death. In a time of division or conflict, be sure you are on God‘s side. There is nothing higher than His Word which is the truth. We will not be afraid to tell the truth in love and that’s the only way to be set free from the bondage of lies and deception. Yes, it may be unpopular but  “Truth without love is brutality and love without truth is hypocrisy”. We will not compromise for the sake of “peace” so that we are not branded as troublemakers or “kontrabida”, but it will only be a temporary peace. We are not looking for trouble, we are peace seekers but true peace comes only through repentance and obedience to God. There is no peace to the wicked, says God.

We must have peace with God  because if we don’t have that, there would be an inner conflict and pressure will build up like there is a ”built in pressure cooker” inside of us that will lead us to be in conflict with others. As any meat becomes tender when you cook it in a pressure cooker, let’s submit to the fire of the dealings of God in our life so that our heart of stone will become a heart of flesh –  tender, surrendered, trusting and obedient to God. Only then can we stand firm in the test of time and see them as an opportunity for growth and praise to God.

 

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