Following Jesus is a gift but it doesn't preclude us from suffering
by Sister Laura Zelten
Scriptural images of Jesus are often pleasant, kind and gentle: the Good Shepherd, the healer and the teacher. Today’s Gospel is more sobering. Jesus talks about a “baptism” to come, one that will bring anguish. What could he possibly mean by these destructive words?
The overarching message Jesus offers us is life-changing, radical and transformative. Jesus calls us to follow Him. We choose our response. If we decide to follow Jesus then we must allow change in our lives -- including division in our families and communities. This is what true discipleship requires: to be inflamed with God's love and zeal for the mission of Jesus no matter the cost.
The choice to embrace and welcome the call is ours. If we say “yes” to following Jesus then we, too, will be called to live the paschal mystery -- suffering, dying and rising with Jesus. It is through our baptism that we are made anew. The life-giving Spirit encourages us to open ourselves to the transformative message of Jesus and to share that with the world.