A priest once said that the Church is at its best when its views do not align with the majority of people in the world. Jesus Himself never said the path of sainthood would be easy, yet He calls us all to be saints. Saints are called to share their faith with the world and that faith is not easy to accept! The first disciples and martyrs that followed Jesus were stoned, ridiculed, and put to death for their faith and for daring to proclaim it.
“The ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” John 14: 30-31
Jesus faced oppression throughout His entire ministry, and to a greater extent, His entire life, beginning with Herod’s attempt to have Him killed as a baby. When we embraced our faith, we accepted the responsibility to uphold the mission of Jesus. We do not choose a life of ease and simplicity, and at times it is possible to mourn the loss of that kind of life. No doubt Peter and Paul entertained similar feelings; Peter looked at other fishermen going out on their boats everyday, knowing exactly what their day would entail. Paul, who was wealthy, had “lorded over” many before his dramatic call from the Lord. These men willingly left their former lives to suffer for Jesus Christ.
Jesus was right about the ruler of this world. Satan has come into his own and will stop at nothing to lure us away from our faith and choose to believe in an earthly lifestyle. He has done a marvelous job of making this earthly life appear greater (and so much easier) than a life of faith.
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
Jesus asks us to follow a life path similar to His, which can be a hard request to accept, but when we do, our reward waits for us in Heaven. This reward is so great it is beyond anything we can possibly imagine on earth.
One thought on “The Life of Faith”
Our idea of hardship would seem so different (and perhaps even inconsequential to the first disciples and martyrs. Wearing a mask as opposed to being stoned? Social distancing would probably have been welcomed especially when surrounded by hostile crowds. Your reflection sheds new light on both the first reading and the gospel for today. We have no excuse for making the effort to be a saint!