Friday, October 26, 2018
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they realized that He was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest Him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet. – Matthew 21:45-46
I am convinced that a gospel that does not challenge and, even at times, confronts one’s own point-of-view, then that gospel is more in line with your own opinions than in the concerns of God. But a gospel that sometimes is uncomfortable to hear and may ask of one to change his or her ways, even ways of thinking, then quite possibly it is truly the message of a true prophet. But always … there is that intimidating force … the fear of the crowds.
We get angry when a preacher or a passage of scripture confronts our present perspective, sometimes to the point of hostile resistance. But far too often … we are drawn to the preachers, prophets, and words that affirm our already formed ways and opinions. The devout and powerful reacted in such a way to the concerns and challenges of Christ … but through it all … they feared crowds just as much as they feared Christ.
It is far, far easier to preach to a congregation of “approving amens” than it is to preach to a congregation of “soul-searching silence”. It is far, far easier to preach to a congregation about the sins of people out there in the world than about the sinfulness with which we all struggle. It is far, far easier to preach what the people want to hear than to preach what the people need to hear.
One of the problems found in times gone by and the times in which we are now immersed is that we huddle in tribes of common, mutually affirming opinions. We are pressured by the peers whom we have chosen and who have chosen us. It happens with gangs on the streets and with gangs in corporate boardrooms; it happens with political parties and religious communities. In fact, far too many zealous groups, political or religious, exploit the power of peer pressure, sometimes blatantly, more often, subtly. And if a dissenting prophet stands up to challenge … the prophet is severely rebuked and if possible, silenced.
Loved Ones, do not be tempted to become the accusatory judge of other people’s sins, but rather be the humble penitent seeking to overcome one’s own sinfulness.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz