What is it about the Gospel message that makes us want to fight it? Jesus knew that His message, His call to self-sacrifice, to a life of holiness would bring about division. He knew that His message meant that we have to pit ourselves against the world. To be a follower of Christ means to not be of this world.
And in some ways it is downright scary. We are afraid to let Him be the cause of our happiness, and we want to seize happiness on our own.
We are afraid to commit our whole Sunday to the commandment to rest and our obligation to go to Mass—aren’t weekends for getting all the stuff done we did not accomplish during the week? We are afraid to be open to having another baby and lose the leisure of having our own time—will we ever have our bodies and time to ourselves again? We are afraid to give more of our hard earned money to others—what if we don’t have enough for ourselves? We are afraid to give up watching that show and listening to that music that glorifies lust—what fun can we possibly have without this recreation? We are afraid to not have the trendiest clothes and furniture—what if someone judges us as backwards?
Yet, there are those words of Christ:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.“ (Matthew 10:34)
We are not supposed to blend in with the ways of the world. Christ’s way is at odds with the world—the world tells us to serve ourselves while Christ tells us to give of ourselves.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
The selfishness in my own heart is caused by my fear of giving of myself. The life Christ calls me to is higher and better than the glamour of this world. I am grasping at my own happiness, when Christ simply wants me to cast aside those cares and give myself to Him and receive Him in return. And it is not the judgment of the world that ultimately matters, it is that final judgment before the just and merciful Father.
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Take a moment to examine yourself. What things are you holding onto that keep you from losing your life for Christ? What do you love more than Him? Ask Him to help you cast aside your worldly attachments and cling to Him.
Susanna Spencer has a Masters in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and serves as the Theological Editor of Blessed is She, and lives with her husband and four kids in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She loves reading theology, attending beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious food, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, talking to her philosopher husband, and writing all about it at her blog. You can find out more about her here.