It happens in major and minor ways.
You quickly bow your head to bless your food when out to dinner with friends and everyone stares awkwardly. You lose followers on Instagram because you post a picture of a religious icon. You feel attacked by a TV show that mocks what you believe. Your coworkers stop inviting you on their lunch walks because you don’t engage in gossip.
Being rejected for our faith—for being Catholic—is part of the package. On several occasions throughout the Gospels, Jesus states clearly that those who follow Him will be rejected in this world. It’s a part of the mission, part of the sanctification, part of the cross. And it stinks.
These moments of rejection can seem unfair, especially because most of us are not even being loud about our faith like Jeremiah was in the First Reading. (Jeremiah 6:1-9) We’re likely just living our normal lives. It is unfair. And so was the Cross that won our salvation.
The small ways we’re rejected in our daily lives because of our faith—like the awkward silences and poorly-informed media—are inconvenient and unfortunate experiences.
But those who are rejected in major ways—like strained or severed relationships, lost positions or jobs—taste a particular bitterness.
Frankly, there’s not much comfort to extend in those circumstances except this: Jesus has walked this very road, and He’s walking it with you now. We see in today’s Gospel that Jesus was rejected and made fun of by the people He grew up with, the people who knew His family, the people who should have known Him best. How heartbreaking for our King. (Matthew 13:54-58)
The pain you’re experiencing because your family or friends don’t understand why you became Catholic, or why you’re so “into your faith,” or why you suddenly started going to Mass again can be excruciating. Being ignored and reviled by the people you love most is a heavy cross to carry for Jesus. But He’s carried it for you, too. And He carries it with you now.
Sisters, today let’s pray specifically for those who are experiencing this kind of rejection because of their faithful practice of Catholicism. May Christ be our comfort and our hope.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. You can find out more about her here.