Today’s Gospel reading is a tough one, and I think it’s tough because we all desperately long for peace in our families. The Christian life, so rooted in community, calls upon family life to participate in that broader community. But our families, Jesus says, will always be touched by discord—often because of our love for Him. (Matthew 10:34-11:1)
My mom went to Confession last winter, for the first time in a long time. (Hi, Mom.) I had been bothering her about it for ages and ages, years, probably, and when she did go, she told the priest that my influence is what got her back to the Sacrament.
I was mortified at first. Ah, yes, I thought to myself. I have been outed to a priest as a self-righteous, nagging adult child. But the priest wasn’t surprised. Young people, he told her, were on the front lines of evangelization, starting with their own families.
I’m no great evangelizer or paragon of Christian life. I quite simply had lived my faith in front of my parents. Nothing complicated. I went to Mass on vacation. I abstained from receiving the Eucharist while not in a state of grace. I dragged my sister to wait for me while I sat in a long confession line.
Though no sword has been set between us, I still sometimes feel like my faith can be an inconvenience for other people. These little crosses are not the strife promised in the Gospel reading, but they aren’t particularly easy to explain when I’m sneaking out of a family dinner to make sure I can get to the last Sunday night Mass.
It isn’t for naught. Our actions and example are the first and strongest form of evangelization. When the strife does arise (and the strife will always arise), we can carry the crosses lightly and continue walking on, praying for our families to follow.
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Stay strong in following the Gospel, sisters. Join our regional Facebook groups if you’re seeking to connect with supportive sisters on this journey.
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations Mystery: Beloved found here.