A story is told of a young boy in an Israeli airport who ran ahead of his father, and when the father caught up with him, he scolded his son. The father reminded the son that even though the father’s tone was severe he was still to address him as 'Abba,' using a word of respect that has come down to us this day; as a word of authority, intimacy.
Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ! These words with which Saint John Paul II took the chair of Saint Peter on this day, Oct 22, 1978 still resounds in our ears and our hearts.
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In the Bible, fire is often used to describe God’s burning love for humanity. The fire Jesus has come to bring is the fire of love, the fire of hope, the fire of faith, and the fire of justice. He is not bringing the fire of violence! Jesus’ words are much bolder and more powerful than violence, they are the fire of the Kingdom of God breaking into our world.
I’m always intrigued by what comes to mind when I begin to reflect on the Scriptures and prepare a homily. Sometimes it is a memorable commercial. Capital One a bank uses the catchy phrase, "What's in your wallet?"
Have you ever watched a news program with a crowd surrounding a prominent individual shouting questions at him as they were walking? "Mr. President, did you see those polls?" Sometimes there is an exchange, but sometimes the politician or person in the limelight says nothing, looking straight ahead.