“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!” -Luke 12:49-50
I can still distinctly remember standing in my scout uniform at attention while the casket of President Gerald R. Ford passed by. The faces that day were a mix of honor, sorrow, and patriotism. I remember the flag waving in the breeze and even at a young age, I knew that this day was important. I was blessed to be able to attend the funeral of a past president as a Boy Scout. This was one of those times we all experience where we have an urge to change the world, be better than we are, or to fight for a noble cause. It was a tangible moment that I can remember made me want to do something big.
Another such moment came when I walked across the stage at graduation. My parents brimming faces and those of my friends, most of which never thought I would actually graduate, and the feeling of accomplishment took me over as I knew I was made for something great.
The most recent time that this inner pursuit took me over was on my wedding day. As I saw my bride walking down the aisle, I knew I wanted to be the best man I could be for her. I wanted to fight as hard as I possibly could to be my best self for my bride.
Fast forward to today and these beuatiful readings. Jesus says it very; clearly, he has come to set the world on fire, and he wishes it was already blazing. Then he mentions the importance of baptism. While all of these moments I recounted were very special to me and changing points in my life, none are so important as the day of my baptism, when I became part of God’s family.
I think it is hard, especially for cradle Catholics, for us to remember our baptism and the power we still receive every day from God. This day should make us want to fight the good fight and run the race. It should make us want to set the world on fire. But fear, despair, loneliness, the day to do of life, and time seem to erode the power of what happened so many years ago. It’s as if God’s grace was on a timer, and every day, the sand comes closer and closer to running out.
Though it can seem this way sometimes, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to realize and claim the power that we received on that glorious day when we were made new. We need to remember that it was on that day that we were called to be witnesses to the Gospel and share the love of Christ with the world. It was on that day that we started our journey to sainthood.
So here is my challenge to you. Look up your baptismal records and figure out when exactly you were baptized. Then pray to God and ask him for the grace to always remember that beautiful day and to thank him for the grace he has given you ever since. And finally, let’s all ask God how he has chosen for us to set the world on fire. We all make up a different ember in the fire of faith, what does your ember look like and have you made sure it doesn’t go out? The world needs your light.
From all of us here at Diocesan, God Bless!
Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.