Matthew 10:32-36; 11:1
Glory be to Jesus Christ!
Last summer, while on vacation I met a seminarian at a local parish where I concelebrated Sunday Eucharist. This young man was a couple years into his philosophy studies and was spending the summer at this parish, getting some hands on experience before heading back to seminary in the late fall. This young man did not grow up going to Church or even in a family that valued faith, but by the grace of God, he found the faith, deepened it, and began exploring this call to the priesthood. Unfortunately, his family did not look favourably upon his decision to enter seminary. His parents disowned him and refused to support him in any way. While his mom has slowly started to support him in small ways, his father refuses to see him or speak with him.
While this is a very sad story, it is a real example of our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel. Our Lord calls us to be faithful to Him by acknowledging Him in and with our life. When we acknowledge Him, He will acknowledge us before the Heavenly Father. Our Lord promises us a great reward by being faithful followers. However, this does not come easy. Christ’s message is countercultural and challenging for many people to accept. People will shun us; they will reject us and they will hate us. These people may even be our family members, as our Lord tells us in a number of examples. The mere thought of being reviled and hated by family members for one’s faith can easily turn one away from God and from His promise to us.
Brothers and sisters, our Lord never promised us an easy road in following Him and in gaining eternal life. The road of the Cross is difficult, but the reward is bountiful. We can look to the saints as great examples of what it means to follow Christ, even when it means giving up certain relationships and comforts that we have grown accustomed to. Instead of collapsing under the pressure of hatred from our family and friends, may we persevere and forever stay faithful so that our perseverance and faithfulness to the Lord will be an example to others and lead them to the path of salvation.