20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 18/8/2019 - Gospel: Lk 12: 49-53
Building bridges
The natural world has rivers and mountains, forests and deserts, and oceans, that divide the earth surface into different regions with different rain fall, and climate zones. At the national level there are roads, alleys and freeways, that separate suburbs from suburbs. At personal level we have different opinions, and that makes each of us an unique person with freedom of speech, and belief. Separation and division in this sense is a good thing, because there is a good cause hidden behind separation.

Regions or suburbs, that are divided by rivers or freeways are not obstacles, but they have a purpose, and that is to serve the public interests. They serve them equally from both sides of a river, or of a freeway. To overcome the separation, the traditional method was using a ferry to cross a river, and steam boats to cross an ocean. Later on modern technology has aeroplanes to reach other continents. The ferry method had some limitation, because each ferry can carry a certain number of cars or passengers, and it is time consuming for each trip. Modern technology helps to build bridges, that connect both side of a river or freeway. Bridges are faster and the transportation flows twenty four hours daily without any hassle.

It is very often when we need to deal with different cultures, we employ the traditional 'ferry method'. We do that because we are cautious, and want to make sure, that what we do or say will not hurt a person of different culture.  The 'ferry method' is safe, but it is slow and time consuming. To make connections culture to culture, we need to follow the modern technology, that is to build bridges. Building bridges is the way the Gospel promoted, 'Go, therefore, makes disciples of all the nations, baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' Mt 28,19. For some to become Jesus' disciples would cause family disputes or a division in a household. When a member of a household has different beliefs from his/her parents, then division is unavoidable. Separation between day time and night time is a good thing, but for some, darkness is a fearful sign. When dealing with separation in faith in an open manner, prayer is the key factor. Negotiation in a prayerful spirit would help to close the gap of division. It is the 'building bridges' method.

When building bridges between cultures, there is nothing better than using the power of prayers. Sun rays are very thin. We don't see them, but they are much more powerful than we can imagine. Sunrays are able to melt icy water in Antarctica. Sunrays are able to warm the thick concrete walls of a skyscraper. Sunrays are able to make tough outdoor paints fade. The power of prayers could have even stronger effects.  The power of prayers builds spiritual bridges. It is able to bend a strong will. It is able to warm a cold heart. It is able to penetrate light on a tough mind. It is able to narrow the gap of division. It is able to reconcile us to each other. It is able purify old cultures and make a new culture based on God's love, mercy and forgiveness. It is the meaning of the baptism of fire, that burns one's mind and heart in times of dispute about Christianity.

After the fire, real peace will come, and flourish when we follow cultures of life based on Christ's teaching.