The Clarion Call
“I have called you by name, you are Mine.” — Isaiah 43:1
The calling never changes. God places something on our hearts and we must respond. It is not an easy thing to respond so publically to "speak the truth as I have given it to you." I can understand the reluctance of the prophets of old. Pride, being what it is, no one wants to be thought of as a fool. But, "fool for Christ," I am called to be, as are all believers according to St. Paul.
"We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute." ! Corinthians 4:10
Being Christian in today's world is not an easy task. We are witnessing a holocaust of Christianity in the Middle East, and here in the United States, Christianity and the Freedom of Religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, is coming under increasing attack. The Bible in some circles is characterized as a book of hate. Those who try to live by their beliefs in the public square risk the loss of jobs, reputations, businesses and homes.
Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder, a decorated 19-year Navy Chaplain was given a "detachment for cause" letter on Feb. 17, 2015 as a result counseling a sailor according to the norms of his faith when his commanding officer characterized his counseling as"intolerant" and said he was "unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment" in his assignment, according to the Military Times.
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, in Washington State, Crystal O'Connor of Memories Pizza in Indiana, Aaron and Melissa Klein owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon, Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, Victoria Miller, owner of W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Lorraine Fleming, owner of The Cake Pros in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, Chief of Fire and Rescue Kelvin Cochran in Atlanta, Georgia, Marine Lance Corporal Monica Sterling, are among many people in recent days who have been persecuted and prosecuted for their belief in God. They have faced the loss of income and jobs, excessive fines, the potential loss of their businesses and homes, all for the sake of the Name. Just yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Christians were shot and killed without mercy when they attested they were Christians - martyred here, even at home.
The list goes on as religious freedom comes increasingly under attack. What is the truth is now turned on its head by our relativistic and self-centered culture. Morality is deamed bad and charity called hate. The world marches on towards what seems to be "one world order," but not the order deigned by our Creator.
These things are nothing new. Jesus warned about them when He walked the earth. "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me." (John 15:18-21)
It would do well for all of us to remember His words from Matthew's Gospel, for these words serve as both a warning and a remedy of how to weather the storm which is coming upon us:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.*
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:16-42)
The watchword for our time is to Trust in Jesus. Indeed, that was part of the message of Mercy He delivered to Saint Faustina. It is the inscription He asked her to include in the image of Divine Mercy.
Our security is wrapped up in this trust and in taking our stand one step at a time, rendering to others in love even in small ways. Trusting in our Father's mercy to care for us, each of us. Trusting in Jesus word that He did not leave us orphans (John 14:18), Indeed, He gave us His own Mother (John 19:25-27). He promised that would be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
So it is my duty to speak the truth as I am given the truth, no matter the consequences. That is my duty of the moment: to speak the Truth that sets us free, to give encouragement and hope in these ever darkening days. For I believe that is what we are all called to do – give hope and encouragement to each other as we travel this life's plane to our eternal home, and in doing so, to build up the Body of Christ.