By Fr. Simione Volavola, MSC(Pennsylvania Community, Center Valley, PA)
Father Simi professed his first vows on February 20, 1995, and was ordained on January 27, 2001.
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! (Luke 12:50)
This Sunday, we see how God the Father is pleased to give us His kingdom here on earth. Jesus, His Son, is the kingdom. The Father reigns on earth now through His Son. The Father is pleased to give us His Son.
The Son in turn is anxious to be given to us, to be poured out for us, to be baptized in us, to be immersed in us. This baptism into our fallen, broken and disobedient existence is a baptism of fire that must purify us; purify our wills, our choices, our passions.
The obedient and innocent Son is being immersed into us and He is pleased to remove from us our sins and our guilt. He is pleased to move us to repentance and to trust in the Father’s pleasure in adopting us as His sons and daughters too.
This adoption by the Father is an adoption into divine life, of eternal intimacy with the Holy Trinity in a life that is so unlike our life on earth. It is so infinitely beyond any earthly notion of happiness, of well-being, of prosperity, bliss, joy, freedom and peace.
The Father adopts us into a family with ties that are bound by an eternal, unending, unconditional, self-emptying love that is the Holy Spirit. The family of God’s kingdom is bound together by the Holy Spirit.
Our human family ties based on our own biological and emotional connection, our cultural identities and societal laws are not able to withstand the ravages of sin and death. Yet we cling to these human ties because we fear making the leap of faith and to trust in God.
Adoption into the Father’s family will therefore cause conflict within our human families for when a believer begins to trust in the Father and long for His kingdom, those in our family who live in the fear of letting go for a bond more lasting., a homeland more permanent and incorruptible, will certainly deride us and reject us for being so reckless, so selfish, so naive.
Abraham left home anyway. Jesus died for us anyway. Disciples follow Him anyway. They cannot help it that their Father takes pleasure in them that way. Their life in the kingdom has begun.