13TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Here we are at the start of July and the beginning of the summer holidays. Here in Northern Ireland the schools will be closed for the next 2 months and by the end of that time the parents will be ready for the asylum. So these days spare a thought for all those parents out there who are wondering what they will do with the youngsters over the next few weeks. We were lucky as we had our granny to go to down the country and the cousins etc. were there so times were great during the summertime for us but for many the summer holidays can be a difficult time.
In our Gospel story for this Sunday we are reminded that The priority of faith demanded radical consequences for early Christians. At that time extended closely-knit families formed the basis of society, a choice for a follower of Christ could mean a rejection of the family’s faith and values. Jesus reminded his followers that the Christian life involved many risks and one could not compromise or hide these risks away a believer could not placate his or her family if the cost threatened faith. The people of the day thought that No, faith could involve such an extreme choice.
Either the relationship with family took priority or the relationship with Jesus took the number one slot it seemed that both could not go together. Even though they had only a very vague idea then of what he meant, when the time came, they remembered Jesus words and gladly suffered imprisonment, hardships, and finally martyrdom for Christ. This shows how the resurrection of Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on them, changed them from worldly weaklings into fearless heroes. They had become convinced that Christ was the Son of God their saviour who had come on earth to bring all men to heaven. Through time they came to realize how unimportant, the few years of the earthly life that we have were compared to the eternal life of bliss to follow. Today, too, there are still those who are suffering a lingering martyrdom, worse than quick death on the scaffold, because they obey God rather than man. We can help them to persevere, by our prayers. We ourselves, who are free from any overt persecution, must show our gratitude to God for being allowed to practice our religion openly and without fear. As well as carrying out our own personal duties, we must remember the spiritual needs of our fellowmen. They, too, need to get to heaven and anything less will be eternal disaster for them.
We may not be able to preach, or teach them the truth of the Christian faith, but we can and must help all those who are doing so by our prayers and how we lead our lives when we try to live according to our Catholic faith. We are here in this world for a few short years, our real and lasting home is in heaven. We must keep this thought uppermost in our minds, in all our dealings with others and then by our example we will lead others whose faith may not be as strong to their eternal homeland as well.