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Our thoughts should focus on a spiritual understanding so as not to confuse us about Jesus character. St Ambrose gives us the best spiritual insight. He says that the household is actually a single person. St Ambrose starts with the idea that we are body and soul. This is a division, not that the body and soul are separate from each other, but that one will rule and the other obey. The point is that without Jesus we can certainly understand that the sensual body can easily rule over the entire person, body and soul. On the other hand, St Ambrose sees that the soul has three parts – reason, desire and anger (the last one can be substituted for by passion to bring it closer modern understanding). There is then a transformation with the coming of Christ. “For by the coming of Christ, man who was material became rational. We were carnal and earthly, God sent His Spirit into our hearts, and we became spiritual children.” The fire Jesus speaks of in this weekend’s Gospel reading can be understood as the Holy Spirit of God who was to be sent into the world on the day of Pentecost. The divisions we see within a person spill over into life as we see from our other two readings for this weekend. None would listen to the words of God through the prophet Jeremiah, so he is thrown in prison and then into the dry well. Hebrews 12:4 assumes that this struggle, which has been fought and won by Christ on the cross, is ours to endure as well. Like Jeremiah, we can expect to be persecuted by those who have not accepted to be cleansed by the fire within. The division within will cease when we more and more align our will to God’s will. 

With my prayers,

Fr. Kent