Would You?

By Jonathan Camiolo –

What would you be willing to do for Christ? How far would you follow Jesus? Would you be willing to die for Him or for your faith?  I often think about how strong my faith is or is not.  I wonder how courageous I would be or not be if really challenged to stand up in a hard time.  I don’t like when people talk negatively about the Catholic Church and followers of Christ, but at the same time, I find it hard and intimidating to defend my faith.  There is something about standing up for Jesus that is looked down on in society, especially among youth and young adults.

It is difficult to be the only one standing up for what is morally right when everyone is choosing selfishly, based on fun and simply what they feel like doing.  Being a Christian is not popular.  It is challenging to forgive others before they even ask for forgiveness as Jesus taught us.  It is painful to be generous with our money, time and talent when there are so many things we can buy and so many commercials selling is the newest and greatest.  It is tough to make time in every day to pray and each week to get to Mass when sports, work, school and social schedules are so busy.  It is hard to be pure of heart, mind and body when sex is all around.  It is scary to think of becoming a priest or a nun when others might think we are crazy for considering that life.

The first reading this week is from the Acts of the Apostles about St. Stephen. Stephen was a follower of Jesus that was willing to stand up for his faith.  He was the first Christian martyr.  As we read in Acts, “As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them;’ and when he said this, he fell asleep.” Stephen not only was willing to die for his faith and love for Jesus, but he also forgave those that killed him.  This is an amazing man of God.

I think about being a martyr, but I am not likely to be asked to physically die for Jesus since I have a blessing of living in a part of the world that has religious freedom.  That is such a gift.  There are so many people today, all over the planet, challenged everyday by the possibility of being killed for following Christ.  They are strong and convicted.  There are more martyrs in the world today than at any other time in history. That fact is amazing to me.  I find it hard to follow Jesus here, and so many others have a greater challenge by far.

So I leave you with the challenge today.  Would you be willing to die for Christ?  Would you be able to forgive those that kill you, or even those that make fun of you or put you down because of your faith?  Would you be willing to consider a religious vocation as a priest, brother or a nun?  Would you be willing to sit out the parties and be willing to strive for chastity?  How far would you be willing to go for Christ?

Pray for me and know that I am praying for you.  Let’s pray for all those throughout the world that put their life on the line everyday for Jesus.  Let’s give it our all to follow Christ.

 

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