Jer 38:4-6, 8-10; Heb 12:1-4; Lk 12:49-53.

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots.

Relax! This Gospel text is easily preachable and without watering it down! Let us look at it as a continuation -- or even a crescendo of a three-weekend message. Two weeks the challenge from Jesus to us was plain and straightforward: avoid greed and store up the kind of treasure that God values -- not that the world values -- for one day, indeed, every person will face his or her death.

last week the challenge from Jesus to us was also plain and straightforward: Be prepared for my second coming! It will come when you least expect it. Do not think that you may live many more years before the possibility of your natural death -- and therefore put off any kind of serious or permanent conversion; everyone may be judged in the next hour.

This weekend Jesus reminds us that if we are serious about our personal conversions to holiness and virtue that it will require real change in our lives and it may cause the people around us to be unsettled. Sure, we would prefer that they take this conversion journey with us; but some will not.

Jesus is aware of this fact -- this dilemma -- and He forewarns us of the possibility of division.

If the company we keep keeps us hovering around sin and decay; then it is time to part ways.

If anyone has ever worked with an alcoholic or drug addict who has just been released from treatment and who is currently sober and clean; then you know the danger he or she faces when he or she considers returning to old neighborhoods -- to old hang outs -- hanging with the old crowd -- falling back into the same routines of the past. It is a fast highway to relapse.

New habits are needed. New traditions. New friends. A new neighborhood -- or state, even.

Jesus has challenged us in the past two weeks to take a very close look at how we live and to ask ourselves -- Are We Prepared? Right NOW?

What immediate changes do we need to make and how can we keep them permanent changes?

We know ourselves well and we know what pushes our buttons regarding temptations. We know what roads not to travel down to avoid sin.

Jesus has warned us to make the right choices in life and to live holy lives. Our choices matter.

A good preaching theme this week is to challenge the faithful and ourselves to remove whoever or whatever in our lives causes us to habitually sin and lead us from the preparations that we need to constantly be making for our final judgment.

Should we invite those around us to come along with us on our journey of conversion? Absolutely, but if they will not journey with us to holiness; then we must make a decision to stay and face temptations or to move along -- to move forward.

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