Thursday, March 26, 2015

Truth: Not the Road to Popularity

By Colleen O’Sullivan

I hear the whisperings of many:  “Terror on every side!  Denounce! Let us denounce him!”  All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine.  “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.”  But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion; my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.  (Jeremiah 20:10-11a)

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.  Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.  For which of these are you trying to stone me?”  The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.  You, a man, are making yourself God.”  (John 10:31-33)

Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
(from Anima Christi prayer)

One of my favorite prayers is the Anima Christi prayer.  I find myself drawn to the line Passion of Christ, strengthen me.  If we walk with Jesus, at some point along the way we’re going to need that strength that only he can give.
On any Sunday morning we can turn the television on and find a preacher on some channel promising us health, wealth and a whole host of other things if we just have enough faith.  Don’t believe it for a second.  Faith didn’t guarantee the prophet Jeremiah an easy road through life.  In fact, his very faithfulness caused his friends to turn against him.  The words God put in his mouth weren’t what they wanted to hear, so they attempted to kill him.
Doing the works of his Father didn’t win Jesus accolades in every circle, either.  In today’s Gospel reading, the Jews listening to him in the Temple area wanted to pick up rocks and stone him to death.  Jesus escaped, but not for long.
Hopefully we are spending Lent accompanying our Savior on his journey to Jerusalem and the Cross.  If we want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be with him for all eternity, this is the only route available.  There is no easier path, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.  Jesus himself never promised prosperity or physical well-being.  On the contrary, he said we may well be despised or persecuted ourselves.  Think of all the Christians who’ve lost their lives recently at the hands of ISIS members simply because they were believers.

There is no way to Easter and the Resurrection but the Way of the Cross.  As we’ve been trudging along these forty days, we’ve witnessed Jesus’ frustrations.  All he wanted to do was share his Father’s love for all of us, but not many wanted to believe.  As we draw closer to the final destination, we feel the mounting opposition and danger on every side.  It’s not an easy journey.  Knowing that Jesus willingly walked this road all the way to the Cross so that our sins could be forgiven brings me to my knees.  I can scarcely comprehend a love like that.

Spend some time today reflecting on what it means to you to be a loved sinner.

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