What do you think would happen if you boldly spoke the truth about Jesus? I wish I could tell you that everyone would nod vigorously and conform their life to that truth. But we all know that wouldn’t happen. Why is that? Why doesn’t everyone understand and recognize that Jesus will make your life better?
The answer? Because many of us are addicted to our lifestyle and its excesses. We think that the world we create for ourselves is our necessary reality. Who has time for rejecting sinfulness and doing works of mercy when you can have such a good time? Not only that, we get to convince ourselves that we are great people without doing anything to deserve the title.
This attitude is precisely what Paul agonized about in today’s reading from Romans. He knew that many Jews of his time would be satisfied with their historical identity as the chosen people, and therefore would reject Jesus.
Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh.
They are children of Israel;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Let’s not lie to ourselves. If we fearlessly proclaim Jesus to our friends and family we are likely to be disappointed in the results the vast majority of the time. So, is it hopeless? Are we beating our heads against the wall? No. There will always be people in our lives that will respond to a call to relationship with Jesus. If each of us could bring just one person to Christ, think of how much better the world we live in would be.