It’s not easy

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Have you ever prayed silently outside an abortion clinic and had passersby shout not very pleasant comments? Or maybe you’ve been in a group of friends or acquaintances when the language became extremely “raunchy” or maybe the discussion was more focused on ripping apart the reputation of someone else and you spoke up to halt or change the topic. Strange glances or “come on already!” was their next comment. Maybe someone suggested a real “cool” weekend trip and when you responded “Sounds great, but I’ll need to get to Mass,” the look you received questioned whether or not you had two heads? Welcome to the discord that Jesus’ teaching wrought! He taught the truth and while “the truth may set you free,” it may also create great discord among people! The division of which Christ speaks is not the intent of His mission, but the result of it. Christ’s whole message was not to divide but to unite–to unite all under the umbrella of the Father’s love.

I’ve often heard people ask (have asked myself)–Did the human Jesus know throughout His life that He would suffer such a painful, humiliating death? And if not, when did He become aware–gradually or was there a particular time when it all became clear to Him?

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus is very aware of the suffering that awaits him. In a few short sentences He give His disciples an outline of the work He has come to do, how He will suffer in carrying it out and the division it will cause among His listeners. He minces no words in saying He wishes it was over! How often have we felt that way? We know we are about to face a terrible challenge, there is little we can do about it and we just wish it was over! And beyond the suffering, Jesus so ardently wishes that His mission of bringing all to the Father was complete…that we were already united with Him and with each other.

He knew His message would cause division–among families, neighbors, countries. Some would accept His teachings and others would strongly oppose it. We all know that opposing faiths and religious practices have led to many a war between nations…and at times even in families. I think everyone of us has a son, daughter, brother, sister, or other family member who, while raised in the faith, has chosen to set the practice of it, or maybe even the faith itself aside. At times it can truly cause discord in the family relationship. Other times it just brings about great unhappiness for those who have accepted Christ and His teachings and want those whom they love to have a strong relationship with Him too.

As His children who have understood and appreciated all He has done for us, we can continue His mission by praying for unity among all humanity…by leading with our example, by teaching the truths of the faith. It may not be easy, but if we think our living as a true follower of Christ is “easy,” then we aren’t following as closely as we should be!

Linda Caminiti