Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday in Easter Week - 2012

May your day, today, be filled with God's graces and abundance!

In the Acts of the Apostles first reading in today's liturgy, St. Luke brings his readers and hearers to that moment in time when he shares the experiences that some of the apostles encountered because they were followers and preachers of the Good News.  Here we learn that the price for adhering to faith in Jesus Christ can be costly.

Jesus had told his followers that the pathway to the Father would not always be easy.  His followers, like himself, should expect persecution from those who would not accept the teachings of Jesus.  For some the  reality of the Resurrection was beyond their comprehension or willingness to accept because of political consequences.

The question for us today is simple:  should we expect anything different?  The apostles were challenged by the leaders of the Jewish people and some other factions within the communities.  Clearly there was a an emotional distance between the followers of Jesus and the government authorities.  Today, I believe, it is more difficult for us to be followers of Jesus.  Why?  Because communications and relationships are much different.

For example:  the current hot button issues around "same-sex marriages" or the matter of "forced birth control" make for some Catholics and other Christians fidelity to the teachings of Jesus and his Church a real challenge.  Indeed these issues divide and do so painfully.  In the Washington, DC area issue of homosexuality and the reception of Holy Communion by a gay person erupted in a local parish when the priest celebrant refused communion, rather publicly, at the person's mother's funeral without ever having spoken to the person.  It was an unfortunate situation that earned national news.

So often in this blog over the years, "being a Catholic is not an easy choice within our contemporary society" has been stated more than a few times.  The "hot button" issues divide and create serious hurt in many cases.  These moments force some believers to live lives that are on the surface contrary to their faith.  For priests and Eucharistic Ministers, for example, are faced with difficult moments when someone they "suspect" or "surmise" approaches them in a communion line.  For divorced and remarried outside the Church Catholics who continue to attend Mass because an annulment was refused to a destructive marriage are hurt because they are told they are not welcomed at the communion table of unity.  There are other examples that could be listed.  Again, simply stated, "being a Roman Catholic is not easy in the contemporary world."  The walk with Jesus Christ on one's spiritual journey can be more than a walk on sand.  For many it is a walk on stones.  So, we pray.  We pray as Jesus taught us.  He promised graces when confronted with hostility and/or persecution.  Each of us has to walk the spiritual journey that God puts before us or on a journey that a person feels in conscience is the route that God has given.