Our Gospel today reminds us that we are not called to be oblivious or naive about what is going on in the world around us; in fact, we are called to be wise to worldly things but free from the worry about them. Easier said than done. As I get older, I am finding that there really is less and less reason to worry. My worry doesn’t change the outcome of much of anything – it just consumes me. I’ve also considered myself experienced in the world which can and has led me to be paranoid about things; again a form of worry that often times is not even rational.
Jesus is being realistic in today’s Gospel. He tells us to beware of our fellow men, because they will be the ones who mistreat us, denegrate us, perform injustices against us, hurt us, betray us and often time in the name of Christ or because we are Christians. We are a target, but so was our Lord Himself. We need to “wise” to this – we are easy targets because we aren’t called to retaliate and because we are living counter culturally. Jesus is being realistic, but He isn’t telling us to bury our head in the sand or to succumb to the temptation to be like everybody else. We are called simply to continue to think of others always first and think of ourselves last.
This is the essence of a religious vocation. It’s the essence of every vocation and I can see it in the married vocation too, but this is the kind of quality men and women called to serve God and His Church are called to perfect in our way of life. We are going to be targets at times, mistreated and all these things which can be daunting when we consider this way of life. But we are never closer to our Lord than when we share in His Life. We share in His Life when we take on His Mission and His Sacrifice.
Let us consider today how we approach suffering and sacrifice; do we embrace it and let go of the worry? Find the peace within? Let us allow ourselves to be wise in knowing what the world might have in store for us as Christians both good and bad, and let us respond without worry today and every day.