May 18, 2021
by George Butterfield
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 298

Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11a

Celebrating Easter Home

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Hope in the Easter Season

Doubting Comes from
Being Out of Communion

I have known people who want to be liked by everyone. This desire can make it hard to know what they truly believe. Take politicians, for example. When I am with an anti-gun crowd, I want to see laws enacted that ban certain types of guns. When I am with a pro-gun crowd, well, you need to know that I grew up hunting and know how to handle a rifle. Neither of those positions necessarily contradict the other but I frame everything in such a way that everyone will like me. Ministers can be that way, too. There are hard sayings in the Bible and hard teachings of the Church. I might tend to shave the hard edges off for fear that someone could disagree and not like me.

This is a temptation to which the apostle Paul did not succumb. Twice in this first reading he says that only the truth will truly benefit you. When he was at Ephesus he didn’t shave off the hard edges. He says, “I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit….” Later he says, “And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

What happens ministers who proclaim the entire plan of God? Tears, trials, plots, imprisonment, and hardships await them. St. Paul said, “Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” If you want to be liked, do not proclaim the entire plan of God.

According to the Gospel reading, God’s plan was to give eternal life through his Son. What is eternal life? Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Eternal life is a relationship with God. We don’t wait for pie in the sky in the bye and bye. We have that life now. And that life doesn’t end just because our body dies. Section 1721 of the Catechism says, “God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise.” Genesis presents a beautiful picture of a God who walks in the garden with his friends. He loves having fellowship with his children and he wants them to know him. It’s through that knowledge that we have life.

Do I want to be liked by everybody? Well, I don’t go out of my way to make people hate me. The truth, however, can be hard to receive and the fact is that proclaiming the love of God through Jesus Christ can get you killed or, if not killed, hated, dismissed, canceled. Do I want eternal life? This comes through knowing God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This life is one of joy and peace but it also includes suffering and hardship. This is especially true for anyone who would dare to share their faith. If you want to be liked by everyone, keep your faith to yourself. If you want others to know Jesus, share your faith. But be prepared for the temptation to shave off the rough edges. Being servants and keeping commandments isn’t something that a lot of folks want to hear. So, make it easy for them. I may be liked but I will also have blood on my hands. Or, tell the truth and follow your master to the Place of the Skull.

God walked with his friends in the garden of Eden. Jesus suffered in the garden of Gethsemane. If we follow Jesus, he doesn’t promise us a rose garden. Eternal life is to know God; it’s not to be liked by everybody.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook