Easy. Today’s homily is thinking about how much I can offer when I face significant hardships. I have never had the experience of being in court over my religious beliefs. So, I do not know how I would react if I were in Peter’s place before the Sanhedrin? I know there are people who give their life for the faith. Could I?
In Going Behind the Word I explore the degree to which I could suffer because of my faith. We live in a time where so many are giving their lives for the faith. How is it possible to do this?
Going Behind the Word
Easy. Has my faith life simply gotten too easy? When I was thinking about the first reading today I began to wonder if I sufficiently allow myself to be challenged in my faith. This is because as I look around the world, it is becoming clear that too many people are having to make great sacrifices for their faith, sometimes to the point of death.
But when I think of my life, I worry about the ways in which my life is really easy. I do not have to worry about basic needs. I do not have to fear violence from war, or even crime. I do not live alone, and in fact live with people who share my faith. I feel supported and cared for by my religious community.
There is, of course, a quote that has often been cited to help focus on evidence. “If I was on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?” How would I practice my faith if it was really difficult to do so?
None of this is to say that I do not try to practice my faith. I pray. I reflect on my life. I do spiritual reading. But do I really allow God to challenge me to seek Him out? Do I really seek sincerely to find God? And do I ever even entertain the possibility that God is calling me to conversion in ways I cannot even imagine?
To be sure, there is always the need to guard against turning the faith into an exercise where I seek out only those things that reinforce the way in which I want to practice, as opposed to being open enough to recognize where I need conversion?
The Danger of Certitude
We live in a time where it seems like people are more and more likely to appear to have everything all together. It seems more and more that people express such certainty about everything that we are less likely to engage into any real conversation and dialogue in our lives. Too often we can project that there is nothing really to discuss or dialogue on because we are so certain we are right.
But often it is the case that it is precisely when people appear so certain that what is really the case is that there is something in their lives that is quite uncertain. Rather than truly being certain, it is more likely the case that there is much we are not certain about in life.
Only God is certain
So what is really the case? How is it I can grow in faith? How is it I can be open to the grace when I need it? How can I know if I have what it takes to persevere in the faith when it gets most difficult? While I cannot know for sure, I can know that God will always give me what I need to answer his call. I can be sure that when the going gets really tough, I can be given the grace to stand up for my faith.