Mt 23:13-22 Woe to you, you hypocrites! Wow!
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites…You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.”
Woe to you…you hypocrites…you blind guides! Can you believe that Jesus said this??? Wow!!!
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. We, as Christians, tend to think that the closer we are to God - the more blessed we are - the less we will suffer. This is total nonsense! Christ is not in heaven because he is on vacation! He is in Heaven because He leads us. He does not rest in heaven; he coordinates precise tactical strikes on the hearts and minds of men. Christ is no pacifist. He did not go AWOL. He did not earn his purple heart long ago; He earns it every single day. What you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to me.
God is sacred; Christianity is sacred. But it’s not just about Him. It’s also about us! Life is sacred; marriage is sacred; family is sacred. All other definitions are fiction. All other definitions are an appeasement; an affront to Christ’s sacrifice and death. Did the Lord die in vain? God forbid! Did He die and shake hands and agree to disagree? Never! Then why do we do this to Him? Why do we make pretend that there are far more important matters than life, marriage and family? Are we to believe that Christ’s death was an exaggeration? He didn’t have to go that far.
Those who attack the sacredness of life, marriage and family do not have any difficulty in ridiculing, insulting and degrading those who think differently. Oh well, aren’t you guys suppose to forgive us? It’s amazing how selective is their memory and knowledge of Christianity. Yes! We are! But we will not roll over and play dead. We forgive you… for you know not what you are doing. Let us not forget that it was Christ who forgave His enemies. Let us not forget that His enemies never asked to be forgiven. We know that by what they did next.
Let’s not be hypocrites or blind guides. Where did we ever get the idea of hiding in our Churches; preaching only to the choir; of playing dead; of not speaking out; of negotiating with sin?
Christ was not a diplomat. He died because he would not negotiate or surrender. The Lord was not a weak man. He conquered death! All of us put him to death and He rose from the dead. When we learned of what He did, some of us switched sides; some continued along party lines. Once upon a time, you could tell a Christian from a non-Christian by what they were willing and not willing to do. Those who were willing to sacrifice everything but their faith, honor, principles, morals and values were the Christians. Now, you have Christians who are willing to sacrifice their faith, honor, principles, morals and values but not their homes, careers, income and/or status.
The Lord never told his Apostles to mingle and mix with the latest trends; to go unnoticed; to not stand out. Not even when all appeared lost did He call for a truce, or an evolving of ideas. On the contrary, the Lord put his enemies on notice. He declared all out war for the salvation of souls. He declared it in the upper room on the night he was betrayed. He declared it as He was nailed to the Cross. He declared it when He said, “Do not be afraid. Go throughout the world…”
He is looking for a few good men. As soon as he can find a special operator that is willing to fight and die for Him, He will send Him. This is the truth. All other ideas of the ideal Christian are simply nonsense! Or better yet, from the devil’s headquarters. The devil would love for us to call off the attacks on abortion. He would love for us to retreat on marriage and family. “Let’s have a little respect here for people’s privacy, shall we?” “You shouldn’t be protesting in front of our clinic doors. Where are your manners?”
In today’s first reading, we read of how proud St. Paul is with the Christians in Thessalonica. Their faith is flourishing; the love they have for each other keeps growing; their endurance in the face of persecution and affliction is a model for others. He considers their suffering as evidence of the just judgment of God.
Do you still believe that your trials and tribulations are proof that God does not exist or is absent? Give me a break! We know the apple does not fall far from the tree. If they persecuted me, then they will persecute you!
St. Paul traveled to the ends of the earth to make one convert. St. Monica traveled across the sea to convert her son. Why did they do it? For love of God and neighbor. How did they do it? By imitating Jesus Christ. And both were very successful in accomplishing their mission. And both paid a heavy price for it.
Let’s not make the Lord’s death (or St. Paul’s and St. Monica’s) in vain. His death was meant to inspire us all.