“That’ll get ya a lotta bread,” yelled an accomplice to his buddy, just having torched a convenience store in St. Louis, a bystander having reported this comment to a cameraman. Such evidences paid instigators hired to trash cities beset with racial discord, in this instance the aftermath following the death of George Floyd.

For me, this reflection referenced the Gospel of Luke and Jesus’s declaration, I have come to cast fire on the earth and what would I but that it be enkindled. Jesus was also a flame-thrower, but in a different sense than the thug previously mentioned. Experiencing our flawed humanness evoked his compassion and care. There was another way to live and he was passionate that we learn it. His behaviors and subsequent teaching enkindled in his listeners a new discipline that burned away the dross of self-centered living, wedded to the appeasement of instincts.

But with today’s materialism, hedonism, and secularism clogging our spiritual receptors, more laws and monitoring, more barricades and armed guards won’t change things much. Only the heart’s humble sacrifice can lead to harmony among peoples, and that burns, at times. But the joy that ensues refreshes for all eternity.