Do you ever thing about the costs of being a follower of Jesus? I don’t think about it very often that is until persecution comes my way. Being put down, bullied, ostracized, shut out, looked at with those eye rolls or side glances, it’s no fun. Has it ever happened to you? It has to me on many occasion. One holy priest told me, if you are getting persecuted you must be doing something right. I’ve found that to be a good encouragement when persecution comes my way. The converse of that for a Christian might be, if I’m not facing any persecution, am I really speaking truth or living out my Christian faith? Good question.
TAKING A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY
As we head into the Easter Season, reflecting on who we say or believe Jesus is, and looking at our lives and decisions to see if they comport with our beliefs is a worthy goal. This reflection by Father Al Lauer, of Presentation Ministries is worth reading.
“Jesus answered them, ‘I solemnly declare it, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’ At that they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus.” —John 8:58-59
On the first day of the Easter season, in every Catholic Mass in the world, we will be specifically asked: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord?” In other words, we will be challenged to profess our faith that Jesus is God. This is considered blasphemous to over one billion Muslims or Jews. They believe that to accept Jesus as God is to deny that there is only one God. Moreover, over two billion Chinese Communists either deny that there is a God or that Jesus is God. Also, hundreds of millions of Buddhists and Hindus reject Jesus’ divinity. Finally, our secular humanistic culture of death considers it dangerous for us to maintain that Jesus is the only God. They maintain that statements of absolute truth lead to intolerance, oppression, and war.
It has never been popular to profess that Jesus is God. The cost of believing and professing Jesus’ divinity is the cross. Look at Jesus crucified. Nevertheless, will you love Jesus, Lord and God, so much that you will live and suffer for Him? Will you accept persecution and even martyrdom in your profession of Jesus’ divinity? At all costs, proclaim Jesus as Lord and God (Jn 20:28; cf Phil 2:11).
Prayer: Father, if it be Your will, give me the courage to die for the faith.
Praise: St. Stanislaus stood boldly against the evil ways of the king of Poland. When the soldiers refused the king’s order to kill Stanislaus, the king murdered Stanislaus himself. Stanislaus became a martyr of the Church.
Promise: “I will render you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you.” —Gn 17:6
For more teachings from Presentation Ministries go to www.presentationministries.com