Monday, January 7, 2013

To be Catholic is to be a Rebel

Today's and yesterday's readings are Gen 5-7:24, Ps 5-6, and Mt 4-5:20. I will reflect on the Gospel reading.

When I read from the Gospel of Matthew this morning I could not help but be reminded of  Dietrich Bonhoeffer's famous book The Cost of Discipleship. In the book, Bonhoeffer aims to awaken the German Church from its spiritual torpor. When Jesus calls Peter and Andrew, and James and John, they immediately drop everything they were doing and follow Jesus. Here is what Matthew says:

" As [Jesus] was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, 'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him" (Mt 4:18-22).

Matthew does not indicate that these men even hesitated before following Jesus. What faith they must have had! Their past lives were physically and maybe financially trying but their future life will require spiritual endurance. Jesus says as much when he urges his disciples to "rejoice and be glad" (5:12) when people insult and persecute them. In our country, we are not killed for our faith; however, you can be sure that our faith in Jesus Christ is put to the test. We must expect people to look at us funny when we say we are Catholic and when we speak about our faith in Jesus. We must expect our values to contradict those of our society. In other words, we must be rebels!

As a young adult Catholic, I desire to be a rebel just like any other college student my age. But what does it mean to be a rebel? Jesus gives us the answer. To be a rebel is, and always has been, to follow Jesus Christ and proclaim Him as LORD. Of course, we must lead others to Christ through love. But, we must not be afraid to be different - to reject the ways of the world. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We must be true witnesses to Christ in our lives so that people who live destructively can see Jesus in us and be set free.

I am convinced that to be Catholic is to be a rebel! 
And I've always wanted to be a rebel :)

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