Luke 21:12-19 Sing A New Song
Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.”
Who needs it! Really. Who needs persecution! Why fight for others when they are not interested in being saved; or worse, when they are actively fighting against being saved! Why fight if the world is destined to be destroyed? Why go through all that personal pain, misery and suffering? For what??? To be led to the slaughter???
Why do you even care?
I’m not having a bad day, or even a bad year. Believe me. I’m serious. But what I’m noticing more and more is that people who care about Christ (and His Church) are constantly getting hurt for doing so. People who put in their two cents are getting two rocks thrown back at them! Why even bother when there is so much antagonism towards holiness! Who needs it!
What will it take for the Catholic Church to not get slapped in the face anymore? What will it take for the “tolerant” to be “tolerant” of Christians who hold firm to Christ’s Gospel? I know. Let’s start preaching that at the end of our lives we all go to heaven. Why not? What do we have to lose? No more arguing. No more fighting. No more high expectations. Just live your life! That’s plenty enough reason to make it to heaven.
Let’s start teaching that everything is acceptable. Or better yet, “Whatever makes you happy makes Jesus happy!” Why not? Let’s start believing that every excuse is a good excuse. Why not? Life would be so much easier. The Catechism of the Catholic Church would be so much thinner!!! Religion would be so much easier to understand. We could all be spiritualists rather than religious.
What do you think would happen to our Church if we opened the doors wide open to just about everything? I will tell you. Based on the latest statistics of mainstream protestant denominations, it would eventually end up…empty. Surprised?
It is not uncommon to find Catholic Churches half full for Mass. The reason should be clear. If you are only going to preach half truths, then expect to find half the people. But if you are willing to preach the full truth, then expect to find a lot of people.
No one loves to be challenged. It doesn’t come easy for any of us. But great coaches challenge their athletes. Great teachers motivate their students. Awesome parents question their kid’s decisions. Great pastors strive to challenge their congregations. God loves to challenge people! Why? Remarkably, for all the same reasons: challenges make us better!
Yesterday, I challenged the kids at Mass to tell their parents that they are proud of them. Parents could use an encouraging word, especially given all the complaining they hear. After Mass, someone commented to me that they would probably forget to do so. That’s true. But if one student remembered, then it would be worth it. They won’t forget when they become a parent.
Sing a new song. Aren’t we all victims nowadays? Aren’t we all offended by whatever people say, even when they say the truth? Everyone’s a victim today. Everyone gets so easily offended by the truth.
Yesterday, as I was leaving Zale Lipshy (the hospital), a man walked up to my car. He was decently dressed. He wanted to tell me something so I lowered the window. He started off by telling me that he was not a bum. Then he proceeded to tell me how his car had just broken down, three blocks from the hospital, and that he had forgotten his wallet, “just like a man his age would do”. He told me that he wasn’t asking for much. At that moment, I stopped him and told him that his story had not convinced me at all; that it was too well rehearsed. There wasn’t a single “um” or “ah” or anything. Before I could finish, the man took offense at me. He began to insult me with some pretty foul language. I then told him that that was much better. That that was what I would expect from a dishonest man who preys on priests at hospitals and is literally surrounded by police, phone lines and hundreds of workers in the area that could help.
Sing a new song! Spare the Lord the pity party, please!
The Lord is asking us to sing a new song. Change your tune. Being persecuted is not the same as being a victim. It means being a Savior! The only victims are the sinners; those who end up nailing the Lord on a Cross; those who end up slaves to their passions and following their will rather than God’s will and his commandments. Christians are not victims. We are liberators. Christ was not a victim. He was our Savior.
Sing to the Lord a new song. The Lord has made his salvation known. He has also made it known what it will take: crucifixion, dying to oneself.
Get over it. Life will be tough if you choose to follow Him every step of the way.