Be Who God Dreams You To Be

In today’s gospel Jesus exclaims, “I have come to set the earth on fire, / and how I wish it were already blazing!” We see fire in so many of the signs and symbols of our church: the candles that we light at the altar and ambo, the sanctuary lamp lit whenever Jesus is present in the tabernacle, the Easter fire that lights the paschal candle, which in turn lights our own individual candles and the candle of each newly baptized member of our church. Flame marks all of the significant moments in our life of faith, and often the everyday moments too, as we light a candle to pray at home, to enjoy a family meal, or to blow out on a birthday cake.

And this makes sense. Jesus tells us in John’s gospel, “I am the light of the world”

(8:12; NABRE), and in Matthew’s gospel he commissions us to act as people of flame, saying: “You are the light of the world” (5:14; NABRE). Why does Jesus use fire imagery so much? What does fire do? Fire transforms: what is cold becomes hot, what is hard becomes soft, what is dirty is purified, what is hidden in darkness becomes illuminated for all to see.

In Jesus’ life we see these moments of transformation taking place as he ministers to the people he meets on the dusty roads of ancient Israel. And now it is our turn. We are called into this mission of Jesus to set the world on fire. But how? At World Youth Day 2000, Pope John Paul II paraphrased a famous quote of St. Catherine of Siena, If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” Nothing more, nothing less: Be who God dreams you to be!

Paraphrased PrayerTime Cycle C Renew International