Today’s Gospel: Luke 12:49-53
If you were looking today for that feel-good Gospel passage, you might just walk away disappointed. Yet, Jesus never said that discipleship was one of convenience or that our faith wasn’t to be tested and tried through crisis and division. On this day in 1941, Maximillian Kolbe’s life was ended through lethal injection as a prisoner of Auschwitz during World War II. Along with other Polish clergy, Kolbe was arrested and imprisoned for preaching a countercultural message of life and love in a climate of death and hate. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, neighbor pitted against neighbor. With the evil of Nazism, our faith endured as a light amidst a wave of darkness. Standing in the place of an escaped prisoner, whom he knew to have a family, Kolbe was beaten, stripped, and made to stand in a cell to face starvation. Yet instead of cries, the guards and prisoners heard singing, songs of praise and love for Mary. In fact, Kolbe’s courage and witness to this greater love led to the conversion of several of his captors.
There is abundant safety in conforming to the ideas and actions of this world and great risk in following Christ. And while Jesus didn’t desire division, He knew the all too certain reality that standing for truth, love, and life in this world would earn one far more enemies than friends. So too, it is a good reminder that there needs to be a passion and fire about who we are as Catholics and Who Jesus is in our lives. Yet this does not necessarily entail entering into heated arguments or distancing ourselves from those we love. For then we are neither present nor a compelling witness to the Good News we profess.
Am I more concerned with the opinion of others or not offending those around me than with being an authentic witness to the Gospel today?
Jesus, You have asked that in choosing to follow You that we be willing not to separate ourselves from the world but to live and walk differently in this world. Help me to be a light, even when challenged to authentically witness to truth and love, revealing to others the path we are called to take.