Homily for May 4, Wednesday of the II week of Easter
People who openly profess and truly practice their faith in Christ will inevitably face opposition.
It was true for the apostles, who were persecuted by the Jewish and Roman authorities. It has been true throughout history, and continues to be so today, because Christ’s message always has uncomfortable and inconvenient aspects for people in different ways and varying degrees. Certainly, it is joyful and encouraging, because it speaks of God’s love and forgiveness and the hope of everlasting life. However, forgiveness also presupposes the fact that there are some kinds of behaviors that are sinful and should not be allowed. Asking for forgiveness means recognizing that we are wrong and have sinned. It implies a commitment to change our lives. Jesus is the Truth, and He teaches that there are truths that do not allow for compromise.
This message clashes with the mainstream culture in our society, which tends to be more and more permissive and does not like to acknowledge moral absolutes. To say that one person’s religion is right and someone else’s is wrong, that some people will be saved and others will be condemned, is considered unenlightened, rude, radical and dangerous. The trend in politics and legislation is to push religion more and more out of sight, into the hidden corners of our personal, private lives.
Yet, our belief in Christ is not something to be ashamed of. Certainly, we need to respect everyone’s right to follow their conscience in their behavior and beliefs, but we also have the right to share the truths we have inherited and discovered, to bring this gift of truth to others out of concern for their fate. It is not our place to judge who will be condemned and who will be saved, but we have a right and a duty to help others avoid sin and follow the true path to salvation in Jesus Christ through the Church which He founded. By living our faith, we are living the truth, and should not fear that our works come to light.
May God grant us to be ever truer and more faithful followers of Christ, spreading the light of truth and God’s love in the world and banishing the darkness of sin from our own lives and from our society. Like the apostles, we will face difficulties of many kinds – the obstacles of our own sinfulness and of opposition from those who prefer the darkness to the light. But also like them, our suffering for Christ will be an honor that will earn us a reward in heaven.