The Archdiocese of Seattle has entered into a phase of Pastoral Planning inviting individuals, families, parishes, schools and institutions to prayerfully renew our relationship with the Risen Christ and to embrace anew the mission of the Church.
As we draw close again to Christ, we cannot help but be renewed and energized for his mission. In silent prayer and regular reception of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, we become fully aware of the tremendous grace granted us in being so intimately united to God the Father through Jesus Christ.
Being renewed in the divine life that is ours in the Risen Christ, we gain a proper perspective on our journey of faith in this world, realizing that one day we will close our eyes for a final time here, only to open them again in the life yet to come. This realization helps us become more confident, courageous, even comfortable in the honor we have to proclaim the riches of Christ to the world.
St. Augustine helps us see the true purpose of the mature Christian life in this world, with eyes set on the world yet to come in all its fulness:
Augustine has differentiated the two societies in several ways: love of God or love of the world; love of God to the point of self-contempt or love of self carried to a contempt of God; love of the flesh or love of the spirit. In every case, however, they are distinguished by love, which is their very root. Yet, by whatever name they are designated, it is still true to say that two loves have produced two cities. While The City of God was still a project, and long before he wrote its history, it was thus that St. Augustine conceived it. After he had distinguished between a distorted love of self and holy charity, he immediately added; ‘These are two loves, the one of which is holy, the other, unholy; one social, the other individualist; one takes heed of the common utility because of the heavenly society, the other reduces even the commonweal to its own ends because of a proud lust of domination; the one is subject to God, the other sets itself up as a rival to God; the one is serene, the other tempestuous; the one peaceful, the other quarrelsome; the one prefers truthfulness to deceitful praises, the other is utterly avid of praise; the one is friendly, the other jealous; the one desires for its neighbor what it would for itself, the other is desirous of lording it over its neighbor; the one directs its effort to the neighbor’s good, the other to its own. (Forward to City of God pp. XXVII-XXVIII by Etienne Gilson)
Today’s Gospel gives us another way of looking at this mission of Jesus, in his own words: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how treat is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12: 49-50)
At baptism, each of us received a candle, lit from the Easter candle, a powerful symbol of the life and resurrection of Christ. In that moment we received the divine life of Christ and a share in his mission. Our mission is now to set the world on fire with the Light of the Risen Christ!
Let us live our faith fully, and establish the city of God, the Kingdom of God through works of justice, that more people may experience true peace.