“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the world? No, I tell you, but rather division.”He goes on to describe families torn apart by Christianity. He speaks about bringing fire to the earth. This is a far cry from the peace loving, hand-holding, welcoming handsome Jesus with the sparkling blue eyes, great beard and a good head of hair we see in popular art. Jesus the hippie. Peace, not war.
I could never pull off the hippie look, and I don't think Jesus does either. Because, as our peace loving friends from the 60s soon found out, just having a peace and love agenda does not guarantee our neighbours are going to see it that way.
And so what do we do when faced with inevitable opposition to the Catholic message? Do we stand firm, or do we obfuscate and hide the message in socially palatable terms?
Jesus demands we have the courage of our convictions, the courage of his conviction. We risk ridicule, family strife and even unemployment when we stand for that which we know to be right, and against that which we know to be wrong and which threatens the salvation of those for whom we care.
When we water down our Catholic values, we risk extinguishing the flame of truth.
There will come a day when our words and actions as Catholics will come back not to haunt us, but to accuse us. As Father Jim Roche, Pastor at Corpus Christi in Windsor used to ask, "if being Catholic was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict us?"
Pray that the answer is yes. There also will come a day when we stand before the eternal judge and answer the question, "did you speak my truth?"
Pray for our brothers and sisters, the Egyptian Coptics who face persecution and death for following Christ. August 18, 2013