It's hard being a Christian. In every time, in every place, it's hard.
It's almost surreal to think that the early Christians who were ministered to by the Apostles themselves also were easily distracted by messages preaching a contrary Gospel. They knew the Gospel from the actual Apostles, but along would come somebody else preaching something just a little bit differently and the early Christians would think that those ideas might make sense, too.
Not so dissimilar to how we may begin to veer from our own belief in the Gospel, is it?
It probably happened the same way it does today, little by little. We hear a message that doesn't sound so bad, maybe even sounds compassionate. But we don't realize that the result of this way of thinking ends up veering dramatically from the tradition and teaching of the Church. If we aren't constantly renewing ourselves in the richness and traditions of our faith, we can easily get distracted by the many voices that we hear everyday.
Sometimes when we're challenged by ideas and how they relate to the faith we should dive deeper into Church teaching to see "the why" behind it. But we can't let ourselves become distracted to the point of losing focus on Christ, and end up finding ourselves following a contrary Gospel, just like the early Christians in today's First Reading did, without even noticing.
Saint Paul's exhortation today is very clear: following ideas of men instead of the Word of God will be our downfall. (Galatians 1:6-12).
There is no middle ground of choosing some teachings of Christ, taking some teachings of the Church, but then replacing others with the popular ideas of the day or what everyone else is saying is true. Jesus is calling us to live the Gospel of loving God with our whole hearts, our whole minds, and our whole souls, and our neighbors as ourselves.
But take note; while we are called to love our neighbors and to extend them mercy, we are not to accept their false gospels.
Let us pray: Holy Spirit, renew our love for your truth in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Help us convert and commit again to the Gospel of Christ today, increasing our love for You and for all our neighbors. We can do nothing apart from You. Be with us today.
Make it a habit to read the Catechism. It's available for free, online, here. Read Scripture. Start with the Psalms if you're not sure where to begin. Stay connected to our tradition and richness!
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here.