Friday, October 19, 2012

Safe and Secure

Friday: 19 October, 2012 –– 28th Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 1:11–14 / Luke 12:1–7
Memorial for Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues and Companions
Safe and Secure

I enjoy reading early American frontier and colonial history. During my later childhood years I thought that being like Daniel Boone was about the grandest thing a man could do. About thirty years ago I discovered a series that chronicled the opening of the northeastern American frontier and it described events that are not for the squeamish. The Huron and Iroquois tribes were masters of torture, and today the Church remembers eight members of the Society of Jesus who were tortured and killed by those tribes in the 1640s.

We do not know what it is like to fear daily for our lives because of prevalent enmity and violence. We are concerned with safety and security, trying to guarantee that no terrorists will do another awful thing to our homeland. We take for granted the services of people whose jobs exist for our protection –– police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel.  A lot of money is spent to guarantee security; many homes have elaborate security systems. I read of more and more people getting permits to carry concealed weapons. We want to be safe and secure.

I’m afraid that the comforts of our society and culture have seduced American Christianity. We are more preoccupied with which political candidate can secure our particular agendas of safety and security than seeking to know what God is wanting to do among us. And how many Christians in America actually consider that our Lord may be asking us to obey him in ways that could, indeed, make insecurity a real presence in our lives?

We are not living with the threat of Huron and Iroquois torture –– praise God, but are we living in fear of speaking out for the Truth of Jesus and his Church? What will we do if faced with deciding between (relative) financial security by going along with the moral status quo or not complying with government regulations and losing a job? What do we do when people around us are defending homosexual behavior or couples foregoing marriage?  Do we fear the accusation of bigotry or being a Neanderthal?  Is our highest priority just being left alone so we can live our lives in relative safety and security?

Jesus says, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more.... Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna (which was a metaphor for hell). Saints Isaac and John and the others were “only” killed in body. Yes, they suffered awful deaths, but they are now with the Lord.

I do not consider myself an especially brave person. I do not have a desire to be a martyr. But I do fear “Gehenna” and I want no part of it.  By the grace of God I have a desire to be faithful. I want to be faithful in my preaching. I want to be faithful in the way I treat others. I want to be faithful as a Christian citizen. I want Jesus Christ to be honored in my life. I want the same for you, and that’s why I have said these things....

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