|Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist
Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
Sometimes when I read scripture I don’t get much out of it.
Sort of a “that’s nice,” but nothing earth shattering. Sometimes it’s
because I haven’t prepared my heart, sometimes I’m just not getting it.
However, there are times when the scripture seems to leap off the page and
grab my heart. Today is one of those days.
In 2 Timothy, Paul speaks of the challenges to him when spreading
the Good News. Men who desert him or stand in direct opposition to
his preaching. The Psalmist speaks of making God’s might known to men.
And in Luke, Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs as laborers for his harvest.
Christ warns them that he is sending them like lambs among wolves.
When I told him my beliefs, he was quick to challenge, ridicule,
scoff and condemn. My initial reaction was one of surprise and anger.
I quickly threw some of his statements back in his face and did my best to
make him feel like a fool. I was perplexed and confused by someone
who said they had a relationship with God and now says there is no God.
I was angry at someone who would challenge my faith outright. My initial
prayer was for God to teach this guy a lesson. However, I have since
realized that my reaction is not the reaction of Paul, who proclaims “May
it not be held against them!” or Christ who tells his disciples to greet
each household with “Peace to this household.” Also, my reaction was
not one to convince a non-believer that a Christian is any different than
anyone else arguing their beliefs.
So how should a believer respond when their faith is challenged?
First, it seems to me that we should seek to be as humble as Christ, so that
the charge of fanaticism will not stick so easily. However, not
for a minute does this mean that we should downplay our commitment to the
truth. We should try to be people who listen to reason, who admit when
we do not know the answers, who admit when we are wrong and who do not use
our faith as a tool to elevate ourselves over others. Secondly, we
should defend the idea that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men, and that
the scriptures are God's words to all of us. The challenge is to embrace
the truth of Christ, to present this truth to the world and not appear arrogant
or intolerant. I have to say that I did not meet my first challenge
very well, but I have prayed fervently for guidance in meeting my next one.
My prayer this day is for those proclaiming the Gospel.
Missionaries who are greeted by resistance and persecution in the world.
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