The GREAT reward

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13 September 2017

In today’s Gospel, St Luke gives us Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Plain’.

We are perhaps more familiar with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). Both sermons turn the ideas of the ‘good life’ on its head but here Jesus spends less time on the types of blessed suffering and hones in on the reality and imminence of persecution for faith in Him.

In Australia of all places we can be tempted to have a very blasé approach to being Christian. For most Christians across the sweep of time, identifying with Christ puts your life on the line.

In our Canberra-Goulburn Catholic community we have brothers and sisters from Vietnam, India, the Middle East and many other parts of the world that know all too well the true price of the faith. If we take Jesus’ words seriously, it is therefore no surprise at all that such devout, blessed and joyful people, lay and religious, are increasingly prominent in our Church.

However, all is not lost for the rest of us! The current social and political climate in Australia now gives every Catholic the opportunity to be hated or denounced for holding to Christ and His teachings.

We too can be the victims of abuse and vilification for adhering to the timeless truths of what it means to be a human person, what marriage is, when life begins and what happens afterwards. Perhaps we are passed over for a promotion, are left off an invitation, are ordered to be ‘counseled’; are the subject of a complaint.

Of course, these possibilities are small indeed compared to Catholic life in the Middle East. However, now at least to some degree, we too can “rejoice and dance for joy for…our reward will be great in heaven.” As the old saying goes’ “If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be any evidence to convict you?”

God loves courageous spirits. – St Teresa of Avila

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