LIKE THOSE OF OTHER NATIONS
First Samuel 8:20
Brothers and Sisters,
In the Book of Samuel, we see ancient Israel struggling with something that it still a hard fought battle even unto us: wanting to be just like other people. Israel was (and was supposed to be) very different from EVERY other country in the world.
Of course, Israel was God’s special possession with the explicit purpose of showing the whole rest of the world how to be faithful – which required Israel to be radically different from every other nation. Almost inevitably, understandably, it can be uncomfortable being the only one of your kind (imagine being the only priest in the area). But, again, this was the whole point: Israel was supposed to be different, the example, the guide.
Sadly, as Holy Prophet Samuel witnessed, this proved to be too much for ancient Israel. Without firm commitment to their vocation, they openly preferred to blend in to the surrounding culture.
This is more than relevant for us. Holy Mother Church and Her members have been entrusted to lead the world to Heaven by our example. As honorable a vocation as that is for us, it is one that has only gotten more difficult as the twenty-first century has rolled on. Sports compete with Mass for our attention on Sunday morning; our many involving activities vie for dominance over our prayer time; our hope for tranquility with family and the esteem of our neighbors contends with our ability to witness the Gospel.
Here’s a word from my hero Saint Paul on the topic: non erubesco Evangelium (Romans 1:16). The best translation into English is: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Let’s be brave and make the tough choices in favor of Christ. When our friends/neighbors are not acting as holy Christian, let’s say something. When enticing things are competing with Mass, make the right choice. At every opportunity, teach the Faith by your personal example.
God be near,