In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more.” (Luke 12:4)
Throughout time, and all over the world, Christians have faced the threat of torture and death because of their faith. I like to imagine myself as Saint Joan of Arc, flinging witty retorts at my accusers in the courtroom, then boldly and serenely being burned at the stake. But, alas, no one ever tries to try me by fire. I don’t currently live in a time or place where being a Christian is a threat to my physical well-being.
But my soul? That’s under near constant threat. Because I DO live in a time and place where near occasions of sin seem nearer than ever. I’ve got easy access to pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth right in my back pocket behind a shiny screen. I’m not getting tried by fire; I’m getting tried by zeitgeist. The ideals and beliefs that motivate me as a Catholic are often at odds with the shared ideals and beliefs that are motivating the society in which I live.
It can be wearying to swim against the tide. To guard myself against temptations. To feel that I’m constantly defending the truth and beauty and love that are the REAL Catholic Church against an unceasing onslaught of misrepresentation and misunderstanding. It can make one long to get burned at the stake and be done with it.
But that’s probably the wrong way to look at it.
After all, Jesus also tells us today, “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid.” (Luke 12:7) He had the answers He needed to handle the concerns of His day, and He has the answers to the concerns of our day as well. And so we soldier on, unafraid.
Examine how you’re interacting with your community and ask yourself if you’re living authentic to your faith. Face self-examination with courage!
Kendra Tierney is a forty year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She’s a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is counting down the days until her oldest turns sixteen and can take over some of the driving! Her new book about living the liturgical year in the home is in the editing process. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.