20th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year C

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks to his disciples as he is journeying on his way to Jerusalem where he knows what awaits him. The shadow of the cross is before him, and Jesus knows that his enemies will show no mercy. He taught so much about love, mercy, peace and kindness but he himself will not be shown any leniency. 

Jesus tells us that as his followers we too have to be prepared for difficult times. Following him will not be easy and it will make demands on our daily lives and on our families. The conflict that impacted Jesus’ life will impact ours also. Today Jesus uses the images of fire and baptism to express the ultimate struggle that awaits him in Jerusalem. He says that he has come to set the earth on fire. Earlier in chapter 3 of Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist says that he baptises with water, but someone greater than him will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. In today’s Gospel the fire which Jesus speaks of is the unhappiness and turmoil caused by the coming Judgment. It is also the fire of the Holy Spirit which will come on the disciples on Pentecost, a fire which will strengthen them to go out to the whole world to preach the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection. The conflict and distress which Jesus is going to experience as he journeys towards the cross will be witnessed by his disciples. At Jesus’ birth the angels proclaimed peace on earth, and Simeon holding baby Jesus in the Temple, addresses God and says that now God can let him go in peace as he has seen the Lord. He then tells Mary that her child is destined for the rise and fall of many and will be a contradicting sign. Peace is the ultimate end of the Kingdom of God, but peace has a price. Jesus warns the crowd that wherever the Word of God is heard and acted upon, division occurs. Families will be divided against each other. These are difficult words for us to hear, those of us who commit to Jesus are challenged in our relationships and in the way we live our lives. We need to be reminded that the decision to do the right thing, the good thing, is not always easy and is not without conflict. Jesus himself did not avoid conflict and he didn’t make easy decisions. Although we may not face physical suffering because of our faith we might experience emotional suffering and division. Maybe you have been criticised for taking a lower paid job because it allows you to spend more time with your family. Perhaps you have been called outdated when choosing not to watch a particular movie because you don’t agree with its content. Following Jesus is not without its moments of anguish but if we remain faithful and steadfast in our faith we will receive the promise of peace in life everlasting.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 12: 49-53)

 Jesus said to his disciples: “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 great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. If we make God first in our family life then our relationships will become stronger. Pray together every day this week, children will learn from your example. Encourage them to think about God and how important it is to be open about their faith. In this way we will not face the division which Jesus warns us against. 
  4. Think about the things which cause division in your family and make a conscious decision to try and resolve the problems in a concrete way. By loving Christ we are constantly keeping our eyes fixed on him, and are more able to bring the fire of God’s love to the world.
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St Luke (Lk12: 49-53)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with a green cloth
    v. A computer/laptop with the readings and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation

Be creative 😊 

Today Jesus tells his disciples what it means when we say “I am a follower of Christ”, he asks us to choose. Jesus teaches us to make good choices and to do what is right, even when it is difficult.

  • Doing what is right is not always easy. Jesus tells us that following him can sometimes be hard.
  • Feet printout
  • Colours/pencil

Many times during the day we are faced with making a choice. What clothes am I going to wear today? Shall I have a chocolate before my lunch? Should I tidy my room because yesterday I left all my toys out? What flavour of ice-cream do I like best? Shall I do my homework now or later? These are a few examples which are not so difficult to make, but just imagine that you are playing with a group of friends in the playground and a boy or girl who no one really likes, comes up to you and asks if they can join your game. Your best friend says to you “I don’t want that person to play with us. If you say “yes” then I won’t be your friend anymore.” You have a hard choice to make. Think about what Jesus teaches about right and wrong and good choices. Is it right to leave out the person who asked to play with you? Jesus would have certainly said “yes,” they can play also, but you are not sure because you don’t want to fall out with your best friend. If you do what is right and let this person join your game then you might be in trouble with your best friend. Doing what is right isn’t always easy. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that following him can sometimes be hard and it may cause division among people. What did Jesus mean? Jesus invites us to live in peace, and even though he died on the cross to save the whole world there would always be some people who choose not to follow his teachings. Jesus calls us to make good choices and to do what is right. 

Being Jesus’ follower means we would not make a bad choice just to make someone else happy. We wouldn’t leave out someone just because another friend asked us to. Following Jesus may sometimes be hard, but making good choices helps us to be closer to God and have peaceful minds and hearts.

If you would like to follow Jesus and make good choices based on his teachings then you can print out the “feet template.” Write your name and the words I CHOOSE TO FOLLOW JESUS and decorate the feet with colours and send it to us so we can display it.

Listen to the song: I have Decided to Follow Jesus .

Sign of the Cross.

Jesus, we love you and we want to follow you day by day. We know that it is not always easy to do the right thing. Thank you for giving us the courage to be faithful followers and for being with us as we try. Amen

In the Gospel today Jesus says, “I have come to set the earth on fire.” We probably think it’s a strange thing for Jesus to say. Of course, Jesus didn’t mean that he wants all the world to burn up. He meant that He wanted the flame of the Holy Spirit to burn in the hearts of people all over the world.

  • The Holy Spirit which comes into us for the first time when we are baptised helps us to make good choices and to be faithful followers of Jesus. 
  • The Holy Spirit helps us to keep our eyes on Jesus
  • Door hanger template
  • Colours/ pencil
  • Scissors
  • Craft card
  • Glue

Today Jesus talks about bringing fire to the earth, but not to destroy. He is using the image of “blazing fire,” as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Let’s think about what Jesus was trying to explain to the disciples.

This Gospel passage begins with Jesus saying, “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!” Fire can be both good and bad. It can be a source of heat on a cold night or can be used to light a candle to provide light in the dark or it can be used to cook food on a barbecue. Fire can also destroy when it is out of control, burning and consuming everything and turning it to ash. Jesus here is talking about the fire which will come to strengthen the disciples on the day of Pentecost. He is talking about fire as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. 

Do you know when we first receive the Holy Spirit? It is at our baptism when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Then he becomes stronger in us through the other Sacraments, especially in the Sacrament of Confirmation where we receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit lives in us, He does not take away our free will. If we are open to the Holy Spirit, He will guide us. He will comfort us; He will help us make good choices and help us to become faithful followers of Jesus. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, helping us to do what is right. John the Baptist baptised people with water in the river Jordan and he told the people that someone was coming after him who would “baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.” He was talking about Jesus. The Holy Spirit came on the Apostles on Pentecost as tongues of fire and will remain with the Church forever. Jesus wants the flame of the Holy Spirit to burn in the hearts of people all over the world. Pray to the Holy Spirit to live in your heart and help you to love God more and more each day. 

If you would like to print out the door hanger template, you can write on it HOLY SPIRIT YOU ARE WELCOME HERE and decorate it. Stick it onto craft card to make it stronger and cut it out. Then you can hand it on your bedroom door handle.  

Listen to the song, Heartbeat.

Sign of the cross.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen

Coming soon.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.