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Fr. Mark’s Desk - August 18, 2019
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples,
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”

My grandfather was a Chicago Fire Man in the 1940’s. As a child, I learned many fire safety rules. ‘Always know where the exit is located’ or ‘always have a bucket of water around an outdoor barbeque or open fire’ were at least two rules. (As an aside, I had a bucket of water for the Easter fire last year that kept getting moved!) Extension cords also were never allowed in my house as a child. His concern for fire safety and prevention was his job and a job he did well. The discipline of fire management is essentially containment. If a fire is contained, harm will be reduced. Fire by its nature consumes and ultimately changes everything in its path.

When Jesus uses the image of fire to reflect his divine plan, it is in the sense of consuming and changing our lives. God ultimately is crafting our life to reflect His purpose, and in that purpose we must be willing to change. Often, however, we contain our heart, our spirit, our life. We limit who we are and limit what others can or cannot do. We set barriers that are difficult to overcome.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the love needed to help the victim must first face a containment by those unwilling go out of their way, especially the priest and Levite. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the older son faces his own containment in his unwillingness to forgive his brother.

In our own lives, we face containment that prevents us from being more or better than we are. It is a mistake to look at our lives as plenty, and decide to eat, drink, and rest. “This night your life may be required of you.”

How is the fire of Christ, looking to be ignited in your life? The fire of Christ, the fire of His Love, is not intended to be contained. (I am sure my grandfather would agree!!)

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Last week, I mentioned that I would update on Renew My Church. St. Linus will begin this process in the late spring and be in full motion by next fall. The outcome will be determined by parish meetings in which you will be included. Between now and then I will meet with parish leadership and continue to give you updates as they occur. I believe in this process and trust it will help keep the fire of His love in our parish for years to come.

Welcome Back to School this week!!!
Fr. Mark Walter - Pastor of St. Linus Parish

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