It is not easy to live our faith. There are a number of challenges, both from within and from without.
From within: we are wired to think of ourselves, to provide for ourselves and for those we love. It is a challenge for us to be aware of and help those in need. Also, we want to be comfortable, we want to feel pleasure, we want everything to be easy. It is a challenge to control these drives.
From without: our culture encourages us to get more and more. We are told our self-worth is measured by what we have. Often we can be made fun of or ostracized when we try to live Gospel values, because we are making others uncomfortable. It is not easy.
In our first reading, Jeremiah suffers for repeating what the Lord told him to say. In the reading from Hebrews, the early Jewish Christians, who were ostracized (cut off from family, friends, and not allowed in the synagogue), are told their sufferings are nothing compared to what Jesus endured for them. And in the Gospel, Jesus warns that living Gospel values will bring stark divisions, even in families.
Following the example of Jesus and living Gospel values is not easy. James and John wanted to be first in the kingdom, but they didn’t realize what would be involved. We probably will not be called to suffer as did James and John, but there certainly are challenges to living as a disciple, challenges from within and without.
How strong is my commitment? Am I willing to go out of myself to serve others? We can get all the support we need to do so by taking quiet time with the Lord each day, as well as by making use of His Word, the Eucharist, and the community. We get all three at once when we come to Mass: that is why it is so important to make weekend Mass attendance a high priority, both for ourselves and for those we will support by our presence. I urge you to do so.
May God bless us as we strive to be active disciples.
Church sign of the week: Christianity doesn’t guarantee a smooth flight, but it does provide a safe landing.