This reflection was taken from the Daily Mass Readings of Sept. 11, 2013:
Jesus is constantly giving us hope–both in the Gospels and in our everyday lives–but the Beatitudes are one of the greatest sources of hope he gives us.
Many of us in this age are afraid to express our Christian beliefs; we fear being ridiculed, or ostracized, or disliked. There are so many loud voices in the world that support things which are in direct contrast with the Christian faith that we are often intimidated into submission, and we don’t dare to speak out about the Truth.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man…For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.” He’s right–as usual; it’s been the same story for thousands of years. When Christians proclaim what others don’t want to hear, they are ousted, and considered to be hateful on account of their beliefs–and of their Lord. The only thing many people are willing to listen to are what they–sometimes, we–want to hear. If you tell them anything else, they instantly condemn you so as to preserve their own interests.
But God doesn’t work like that. He doesn’t want people to disregard what he has to say, just because it’s more convenient, or because they don’t like to be told what to do; God gives people free will, but he’s not so quick to give up on them and let them ruin themselves through sin. That’s why we are called to proclaim his Will, and to stick to it; he wants us to help these people.
“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! For your reward will be great in Heaven.” When our honor is questioned, do we not yearn to defend it? Well, what about God? We watch people stomp all over his Name, yet what do we do about it?
Jesus suffered unimaginable pain for us. But he did it to set us free, so that we could live in him on earth, and eventually come to rest with his full, eternal presence in Heaven. He didn’t do it so we could turn our backs on him when the going gets tough. To be Christian, we have to be willing to stick with our Lord, no matter what the cost. True Christians don’t encourage sinners; true Christians speak out against the sin. We aren’t asked to condemn these people, or look down upon them; we can’t forget that we, too, are sinners. We are called to guide them away from their wrongdoings in order to save them, through love.
How many major sins of this age do so many of us support, just to make the people committing them feel good about themselves? To make them feel “accepted,” to make them feel like it’s okay, as long as they’re happy, everybody should accept that? That’s just not Christian. If we really cared about those people, we would tell them how it really is–not for the purpose of hurting them, but in the hope of helping them to achieve everlasting life in Heaven.
It breaks God’s heart to see people doing many of the things they do. Why don’t we think about his opinion? Do we really think that the opinions of a bunch of sinners–including ourselves–are so much more important? Why, when our Lord, Creator, and Savior, weeps for us to repent, and to call others to repentance, do we brush aside his cries, all in favor of the multitudes?
There are several answers to that question. One is the fear of making others feel bad about themselves–and from there, having to deal with their wrath. It seems so much easier to encourage them, or to just ignore them.
Ignoring such people is no doubt better than encouraging them; guiding others into sin is one of the worst deeds we can commit. But even indifference is not enough. On our judgment day, we won’t just be judged on what we did do; we will also be judged on what we didn’t do. When we watch others fall into sin, and do nothing about it, we fail Christ. When we hide Christ’s name behind a couch cushion when we see someone coming, in fear of shaming ourselves, we are failing Christ.
Please don’t think that I’m saying that that we need to force Christ upon others to proclaim his name. That’s exactly what opposers to Christianity want; it gives them all the more reason to blow us off and dismiss us as dictators. Instead, proclaim with joy the goodwill of the Lord, and don’t water it down to appease others. Let’s speak of the Lord, and let him show himself through our actions. Through such actions, we will be rewarded.
by Cameron Daly