A Difficult Love
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
Revelation 1:9-11, 12-13, 17-19
Opposition has lined Christianity’s entire journey. Since Jesus, those who shared his faith have met resistance from those who feared it, who ridiculed it, who hated it and those who found it simply incomprehensible.
Faith is pursuing the full potential of our Creator’s gift. Faith is living the way of Jesus. Faith is change. We’ve no reason to be surprised that many don’t understand change, doubt its promise, fear its cost, or find it too dangerous. How we who’ve been given Jesus’ faith respond to those who resist our vision is both important and telling.
I once knew a fellow who declared that he didn’t care what people said about him; he let it roll off his back. He could not and would not, however, tolerate or leave unanswered insults directed against God. The difficulty was that he seemed to consider any disrespect of himself an abuse of God. He constantly discovered enemies of God who deserved his ire.
One of Jesus’ most amazing teachings was that we’re to love our enemies. Doing so attests not only to our participation in the Reign of God but that God is advancing his peace through us.
Loving and doing good for those who obstruct our efforts to better the world runs counter to common sense as well as our deeply entrenched sense of self-righteousness. The key here is remembering that, in the final analysis, God’s power brings about the world he’s promised. Our power and intelligence are crucial to the process only when they’re directed by God’s Spirit.
As difficult as it is, following Jesus means having our arms always open to those who find us foolish and resist our good efforts. Like it or not, God wills to give his gifts even to those who find us obnoxious – even dangerous.
And we thought that the hardest thing about our faith was believing in the Real Presence!