Monsignor Pope has a challenging post up for Holy Week.
“So to stitch the questions together: Has Christ given you life and joy, and thus made you an effective witness, that turns many from the sinful and confused world to Christ? And has this witness been so effective that some hate you for it? Has your witness been so effective and joyful, but also clear and contradicting of the world’s agenda (power, sex, pleasure, vengeance, possessions, popularity etc) that many also hate you for your contrary witness and would like to undermine it and you?
Jesus did not die because he was a conformist who worked at fitting in and pleasing everyone. He is God and Lord who demanded repentance and summoned us to a faith that believed in the good news of deliverance from the sin we repented of. To a faithless generation he summons us to faith and offers it. To and unchaste and sexually confused world he summons us to chastity and offers it. To a greedy world he summons us to generosity and offers it. To an unforgiving and vengeful world he summons us to forgiveness and love of enemy and offers the grace and gift to do it.
And we killed him for it. He just didn’t fit it to this world’s agenda. Frankly, he irked just about everyone: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, and the Zealots, even the Romans. These political and worldly groups all hated each other but they all agreed on this: Jesus must go.
Outside the Gate: Scripture says, Jesus, in order to sanctify the people by his own blood, suffered outside the city gate. Therefore go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured (Heb 13:12-13). Yes, outside the city gate. No city, no “polis” no “city-state” no political organization could contain him or tame him. So he died outside the gate, rejected by all. And only a very few had the courage to join him at the foot of that cross.
And so here is a question for Holy Week. Are you and I willing to suffer with Christ, and if necessary die with him, outside the gate? The world is becoming increasingly hostile to Biblical faith. Many of the ancient truths contained right in our Catechism are called bigotry, hatred, intolerance, foolishness and superstition by the world, and those indoctrinated in and enamored of the world’s ways. Are you and I willing to be humiliated, excoriated and hated for the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are we willing to have even our heartfelt and joyful defenses of the faith be laughed at, misrepresented and called hateful? Are we willing to be hated by most?” Read more….
Well I am willing to be hated by most. But I am less than certain that I am such an awesome witness that I am despised. Wait–do hostile blog commentators count? Do the 8th grade girls who are stunned and outraged that I have insisted that they dress with Christian modesty for Confirmation count?
My favorite deacon frequently asks, “if they come to arrest Christians is there enough evidence to convict you”?
I don’t water down the Church’s teaching when I teach. We covered the entire Catechism for RCIA. And I don’t shy away from the hot button “stuck in the middle ages” doctrines. But for the most part my audience, except for a few followers of this blog, are receptive to the message.
But I do suspect that living an authentic Catholic Christian faith is going to get tougher. We are going to be labeled bigots and brainwashed idiots. I say bring it on. This rebel with a cause can handle white martyrdom. Well if it includes prison, it might be a tad more difficult for me.
The question is, do I possess heroic fortitude? Do I have the certain faith and courage needed to literally die for my faith? Maybe. If it is quick and painless. This deacon’s wife is a bit of a wimp.
I don’t think things in the US will get that bad for Christians. But then I didn’t think that freedom of religion would be up for grabs either.