These past few weeks when Fr. Joe was away with the National Guard, you might think I was pretty busy. I was. You might also think I was too busy to think. I wasn’t. These past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the next 50 years. Maybe it’s the 2nd anniversary of my ordination, maybe it’s the 6-month warning for my 30th birthday, or maybe it’s just the gas prices, but I’ve been thinking.
When I think about all of these things one thought remains with and haunts me as I go to sleep at night. It isn’t gas prices, it isn’t growing older, but I am scared that I will fail as a priest in preaching the Gospel. You see, I’m a people pleaser; I want people to be happy and to be happy with me. I make jokes and I use self-depreciating humor but I am afraid that I where the rubber meets the road I will fail to preach the truth of Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus says: “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” The teaching of Jesus is for our whole life, covering every aspect. And Jesus’ teaching of what it means to be fully human is at odds with the world around us. The Catholic message is bigger than just one hour a week, the Catholic message is bigger than “to be nice,” the Catholic message is bigger than Republican or Democrat, the Catholic message is bigger than the economy. Jesus reveals to us what it means to be fully alive.
Will we have the courage to proclaim this 100% yes to Jesus? Will we have the audacity to proclaim on the housetops: “Jesus Christ is Lord and he is the only name on heaven and earth by which we are saved!” Will we be willing to brave those who have power over the body but not the soul?
Do not be lulled into false security thinking that everything is fine here in Aberdeen. We support our Church, we support Family Ed and Roncalli, what more can we do? We must invite every man, woman and child to know Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church. We must not be afraid to offer them the fullness of human life in Jesus Christ.
You see, I’m afraid to do just that. I flinch when I’m supposed to gently challenge a couple that is living together outside of marriage. I blink when I’m called invite people to the truth about marriage being for one man and one woman. I hesitate when I could invite victims to pray for their enemies. And when I look at the world around me, when I look at the progress of sin, I know that I will have more opportunities in the years to come.
So if you are like me and you flinch, you blink, and you hesitate when you should boldly proclaim the full truth of Jesus Christ for all people, join me in praying today. Join me in asking the prophet Jeremiah for a share of his courage, boldness, and love for his fellow man that allowed him to preach an unpopular truth. Join me in living out our baptismal obligation to be prophet of Jesus Christ. Join me in renewing our trust our Father who counts every one of the hairs of our head. Jesus says: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.” So join me as we turn to the Lord.