(Adults, this reflection considers simply the first verse of the Gospel reading, but hopefully somehow captures Jesus' meaning.)
Usually, we hear Jesus talk about the Kingdom of God. He wants everyone to know the Kingdom the way he does. He wants everyone to love the Kingdom the way he does. But in the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus does not speak about the Kingdom. He speaks about fire 🔥.
“I came to bring 🔥 to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Jesus comes to bring 🔥? This seems a little strange. What does he mean?
Jesus says the 🔥 is not yet kindled. This means that the 🔥 is not yet lit. It is not yet burning brightly.
Perhaps Jesus is thinking about having a campfire. Jesus and his friends have a campfire on a beach after he dies and rises to new life. They cook some fish and eat it together. Perhaps he looks forward to dying and rising to new life.
If he looks forward to dying and rising to new life, he might be speaking about another 🔥. After Jesus dies and rises to new life, after he spends time with his friends cooking fish and eating it together, he returns to God the Father. But he does not leave his friends alone. We hear:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of 🔥, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Perhaps Jesus looks forward to dying and rising so that he can give the Holy Spirit to his friends.
With the Holy Spirit, his friends can know the Kingdom of God the way he does.
With the Holy Spirit, his friends can love God the way he does.
The Holy Spirit brings so many gifts!
But does Jesus look forward to giving the Holy Spirit just to his friends?
When we are baptized, we receive the Holy Spirit, too. Water filled with the Holy Spirit is poured over our head.
When we are baptized, a candle is lit from the Paschal candle—the biggest candle—Jesus' candle. That candle is given to us.
Perhaps this is the 🔥 Jesus speaks about in the Gospel for this Sunday! Perhaps he cannot wait to give the Holy Spirit to us.
With the Holy Spirit, we begin to know and love the Kingdom of God,
just like Jesus.