My dear brothers and sisters in Christ
The Lord does not simply posit, but promises, the trials that are in store for those who follow his will.
We are living in an era of Church history in which it is no longer considered polite or decent to be a Christian by the standards of broader society, at least here in the West.
Not much has changed in the last years (or 2,000?), and if anything, things have gotten worse for Catholics and other Christians when it comes to how we are regarded popularly. If you doubt this, look at how the Church is portrayed in various realms of the media, including Catholics being publicly lambasted for their faith, and unduly scrutinised in an official capacity even for membership in a branch of the Church that is one of the most reputable international charities in history, as Ed Condon recently detailed for the Catholic News Agency: “Judicial Nominee Faces Senate Scrutiny Over Knights of Columbus Membership.” It appears that we may be entering a new era of anti-Catholic [and otherwise anti-Christian] intolerance.
If you strive to live according to your faith, and profess the Church’s doctrine, perhaps particularly in the area of human sexuality (teachings which are based on Christ’s [see Matthew 19:1-12]), however gently, patiently and charitably, then you are quickly shunned and ostracised… even by fellow Catholics who have come to prefer man’s wayward law to God’s. Such allegedly inexcusable positions as professing that sex should be reserved for marriage, that marriage is between one husband and one wife (and that children deserve a mother and a father), that the poor and homeless deserve humane treatment, that unborn babies are human beings, that repentant sinners deserve forgiveness rather than vengeance, that any number of social ills are as much – if not more – due to systems of sin and a setting of spiritual warfare than to sociological conditions alone, then you can easily become a persona non grata. Social exclusion, if not crippling fines and even incarceration, are in store for attempting to function as a Christian in this post-modern era. This is not even to mention that, worldwide, the persecution of Christians, even to the point of martyrdom, has become a daily reality for many around the globe.
The Lord does not simply posit, but promises, the trials that are in store for those who follow his will. To be sure, read the sobering version of this account in Matthew 10:16-39, under the headings “Courage Under Persecution,” “Jesus: A Cause of Division,” and “The Conditions of Discipleship.” We are similarly drawn to this cogent resolve with the Lord’s words as they appear in Luke 9:23, “Then [Jesus] said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” I hope that you are graced with the spiritual benefits of wearing a cross in 2019, and hopefully beyond. You would not be in the Church if it did not mean something to you, so it is time to stand up and outwardly express your embrace of the Good News.
with blessings from Father Marcin Drabik