Mt 10:24-33 Acknowledging God Before Others
Jesus said to his Apostles: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”
I remember a conversation I had with a nutritionist. He told me that he no longer drinks milk. I asked him why? He told me he was lactate intolerant. I told him, “Excuse me for my ignorance, but isn’t there lactate-free milk in the supermarkets?” “Yes”, he said, “but it's ‘unnatural’ for people to drink cow’s milk.”
Unnatural??? How is drinking cow's milk unnatural? Is it ‘unnatural’ to eat a tree’s apple? I don't get the connection between this poor man's lactate sensitivity and the 'unnaturalness' of cow’s milk. Isn’t lactate intolerance due to a lack of an enzyme?
Too often we make the wrong connections. How often do we think we can push someone away from God by being too religious? I know what you are thinking. I know…I know. I have heard it over and over again. Many people have told me that their daughter or son no longer practice the faith because they felt forced into it. But that’s simply not true. It’s not! The problem was not that they were forced to go to Mass. Was it ever a problem that you forced them to take a bath? Did they tell you they would never bathe again? Of course not!
Too much of Christ is not a bad thing. Too little of him has proven to be a horrible thing. Too much fresh air is never a bad thing. Too little is a deadly thing. Our problem is not Christ or Christianity. Our problem is with us! If I do not live my faith faithfully, then I will turn others off. That’s the bottom line. If I am mean and judgmental, constantly preaching and lecturing, and going off on others by insulting them, and then force my children or grandchildren to go to Church every Sunday and tell them they will go to hell if they don’t, do you think I may very well turn them off to God (or turn them into a raging lunatic)? I admit there are a few exceptions to every rule. But the connection between the love of God and the love of one’s parents is a strong connection. The Lord did it himself. Examine your conscience and let me know.
Offending or offering. “I don’t want religion to get in the way of my friendships.” “I don’t want to offend anyone because of my God.” “I don’t want to impose my faith on others. I don’t want to cause a stir in the family.” I’ve heard it all. Do we offend others by offering our hope or do we offend others by offering no hope?As the number of Christian baptisms and marriages slowly but surely declines, it’s easy to think it’s because of our secular world. It's not. Of course the secular world doesn’t help…or does it?
Does a candle not shine brighter in the dark? Is the bully not conceived from a secular womb? Does the raging lunatic not lack faith, hope and love?
Yesterday, I was shaking my head hysterically at the absurdity of how dumbfounded a news reporter was at how rational Peter Keller was. If you do not know, Peter Keller of Washington State murdered his wife and daughter and planned to hide in a bunker out in the wild that took him months to build. It was an elaborate, well thought out and executed plan. He even made a video of himself explaining himself. The news reporter couldn’t believe it. She kept repeating over and over again, “He sounds so rational!” Duh!!! Of course he does! What did she think? Why are people so stupid to think that lunatics have lost their reason? That’s the only thing they never lose. The problem with lunatics is that they don’t think outside the box – that is, they don’t think outside of their tiny brain! They leave no room for faith, hope or love. That’s what drives the murderer to murder! That’s what drives the bully to strike...behind the scenes. They think they know it all. They have no need for faith, hope and love.
Do you really think that someone who claims to be “tolerant” of all religions will end up being “intolerant” because of your authentic love for Jesus Christ? No. On the contrary, they will examine your faith and see if it hold up to pressure.
Don’t make the wrong connections, please. Don’t blame God for being "socially unacceptable", or "out of touch with reality". Don’t blame God for creating wars. Don’t connect all religions with war, otherwise, you will exclude the biggest, costliest and deadliest ones of all time. But if you do, then be fair and connect Christianity with St. Francis, Blessed Kateri, Mother Teresa, John Paul II, and the millions of other saints that have lived the Gospel faithfully. Be fair and connect Christianity with the humble, not with the prideful!
In today’s Alleluia proclamation, we read “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of God rests upon you.” So…have you been recently insulted for the name of Christ? If so, then, according to St. Peter, “you are blessed”. Why? Make the connection! If Christ was blessed yet insulted, humiliated and rejected by others, then I to will be blessed if I am insulted, humiliated and rejected for the name of Christ.
Make the connection. Take it step by step. Acknowledge God before others. Live the faith faithfully. Bear fruit. Be blessed.