This reflection was taken from the Sunday Mass Readings of Nov. 17, 2013:
“You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance your will secure your lives.” These lines are most certainly coming to pass in this age. The Christians are hated for their love, by which people call them haters; discriminated against for their beliefs, for which they are called discriminators. All by people with their own beliefs, who, while demanding that those beliefs be respected, still find the beliefs of others–and the idea of respecting those beliefs–to be horrific. It isn’t even logical, for some people to be so militant about enforcing their thoughts, and yet they can’t stand it when the Christians actually try to express their own views.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives his followers hope in such a society. People may do any number of things to us because of his name, yet he will raise us up to live with him in Paradise on account of such things.
He wants us to speak out against sin, to be the barrier that separates evil from his children whenever we can. He doesn’t want us to hate these people–our fellow sinners; he wants us to help them. Nothing makes God sadder than to see his children go astray and lead lives of sin. He does everything he can to bring them back to a life of truth; sometimes, he wishes us to be his instruments for that.
Think about the story with the guy on the roof during the flood. He prays for God to save him. People in two boats and a helicopter come to help him. He turns them all away under the guise that God will save him. He dies. He meets God, and asks him what happened. God informs him that it was God who sent the people in the boats and the helicopter.
We can’t just sit back and expect God, through some bright light and deep voice from the sky, to suddenly convince people that they are living lives of sin. That would contradict the necessity of faith, and is therefore just not how he works (except in a few select cases like St. Paul). In a sense, in this age, we are his bright lights, through whom he attempts to expel darkness from the souls of others. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Christians, as of late, are members of one of the quietest worldviews in our contemporary society. That’s why immoral views have gained so much power: they’re LOUD. We, too, must make ourselves heard, if we are to try and help fulfill God’s eternal plan of salvation. Obviously, we won’t be able to bring everyone to Christ. But if we don’t start trying soon, it’ll be more like “we won’t be able to bring anyone to Christ.” Many people’s lives–priceless lives–are wallowing away, and yet we so often sit by silently. These people are preparing themselves for an eternity of misery. If we are willing to let them do that, without trying in the slightest to stop them, then we are almost as bad as they are.
Consider what Jesus went through. Unlike us, his followers, he’s not even a sinner! We are worthy of being spat upon; he’s not. Yet, he went through one of the most hideous known methods of execution for us. We should try our best to follow in his footsteps, and bring others to God so that he can forgive them for their sins.
As it says in the Gospel, “You will be hated because of my name.” This should be a warning sign to the “Christians” whose religion is more devoted to today’s public preference than it is to the teachings of the Bible.
Since Jesus is the “Word made Flesh,” you could essentially say that he’s the walking, talking Bible. Now, if someone is going to be Christian, they must understand that it means more than just peace and good feelings for everyone. Accepting Christ into our lives means accepting the Bible–the whole Bible, not just the parts that we like. Jesus is the Word made Flesh; the Bible is the divinely inspired writing of the Lord. Since the Lord exists outside of time (you’ll go insane if you try to contemplate that), the truth of the Bible is never going to change over the course of time as preferred trends will. A person cannot truly be a Christian and not accept the teaching of the Bible. Obviously, nobody can always live up to the teaching of the Bible; but if a person’s not even going to try, then they clearly don’t love the Lord over themselves, meaning that they really aren’t “following” anyone but themselves. Let me add that “Love the Lord above all things” is the first part of the “Golden Rule.” “Love your neighbor as yourself” is just the second part, although it is often portrayed as being the whole picture.
One example is telling people things that they should hear, but don’t want to. Many people (sometimes including me) can get offended when they are told something that they don’t like, which–by listening to the second part of the Golden Rule alone–might lead us to keep our mouths shut, for fear of offending someone. However, loving the Lord above all things means doing his will above all else. He wants us to tell people, out of love, not merely what they want to hear, but what they need to hear to gain salvation.
What I mean is that we shouldn’t be quiet about our faith, merely so that we won’t “offend” anybody. There is really very little that we can say, that won’t find offense with someone. If what we’re saying is for their own good, and we are trying our best to have a gentle demeanor about it, then we are indeed doing God’s will.
“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”–Jesus (Luke 18:8)
by Cameron Daly