In Confrontation

First Reading: Jas 2:14-24, 26
Psalm: Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel: Mk 8:34, 9:1

Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our salvation from sin.
This is the greatest gift humanity has received from God. But to
accept this gift, we must shed our worldly attachments and follow
Christ. Following Christ, however, will lead us into direct
confrontation with the world’s values many of which are rooted in
materialism and evil.

Accepting and following Christ means commitment to a responsibility
in faith. We see many so-called Christians proclaiming to everyone
their strong faith and beliefs. They sing wholeheartedly during
Mass or services; they religiously attend and participate in Bible
studies and prayer meetings; and they boast their faith and
religious fervor to friends and families at home. But rarely do we
see these same people caring for the sick, visiting prisoners, or
sponsoring programs to educate poor children or orphans. These so-
called Christians, in whom some of us are included, pay a lot more
lip service than real service.

Real followers of Jesus are active participants of their faith.
They practice what they preach and what is preached to them. They
understand and realize that service of their faith is not an easy
task. There inevitably will be conflicts with worldly values and as
a result there will be suffering from those conflicts.

As we strive to be real followers, we can be consoled to know that
even with all the obstacles, conflicts and adversities we will
encounter each day, Jesus will always be on our side. After all,
being His disciple assures us of His presence, His counsel, and most
of all, His love.