Saturday, August 29, 2009

What If ....

Imagine your priest was killed right before your eyes at Mass.

Now imagine the murderer turned to the congregation and asked if anyone else would like to continue the mass ... and suffer the same fate?

What would you do?

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I've been thinking a lot about Peter and the Apostles this week, and how scary Jesus' final days on Earth must have been for them.

And my stream of consciousness led me to the following question ....

What if they just went back to living life the way they did before Jesus?

After all, look at their choices.

Go forth into a hostile world that hates them, will most likely torture them, and will eventually kill them
OR
Spend their mornings on a fishing boat and evenings having dinner with their wife and kids.

Of course on paper 2000 years later it's an easy choice. But I really thought hard about the magnitude of that decision back then.

They had just seen Jesus publicly embarrassed, tortured beyond human comprehension, and left to die in a horrendous fashion. To follow in his footsteps would mean the same for them.

And yet they did.

It would have been so easy to just go back to the simple life they were leading. To leave the whole "promoting-the-Kingdom" thing for the next generation to worry about. To assume God would just send someone else to finish the job.

But they didn't.

Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and without their Leader physically with them, they looked death straight in the eyes and changed history.

I am in such awe of them, and so very, very grateful to them. It is because of their strength that we have the Gospels and teachings that can get us to Paradise.

God Bless.

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As I write this post from the comfort of my home, I imagine what kind of strength it would take to give that up, walk into town, and start preaching the Word of God to a square full of people that did not want me there. As daunting as that sounds, I imagine what kind of strength it would take to walk to the next town of angry people and do the same. And the next town. And the next...

6 comments:

Happy Catholic said...

What a powerful post. I am guilty of taking the apostles work for granted, often forgettting that their lives were literally on the line every day. Those were frightening times, especially between the Resurrection and Pentecost.

People who must fight for something value it so much more than those to whom everything is given.

You've given me much to think about, and I thank you. So now I am off to contemplate the example of Peter's death on a cross. He stared death in the eyes, upside down, for love of Our Lord. We should all love Jesus, and His Church, that much.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

What a difference in the history of the world that only 12 people made! Just imagine that good that every one of us, along with each of us working together with 11 friends, could do!

(And I would like to think that I would continue the mass, but we never know if we will have the courage to do such a thing until the moment is before us. The human spirit is capable of more than we think, yet it can fail us at critical moments as well.)

Michael said...

HC - I *totally* have been taking their work for granted. I think that is why this hit me so hard.

Elizabeth - It is really mind boggling to think about the impact the Apostles (and Jesus of course) made. And, they did it all without twitter!

the booklady said...

Beautiful Michael! ☺

Thank you! Yes, you are so right to be grateful for the Apostles! Thank you for this reminder about what a blessing they are to us! Not only for what they did then, but also for how their witness continues to resound and echo on down through the centuries.

I LOVE St. Peter! Mostly I love his humanity, which shines through in his every doubt, attempt to prove himself, foot-in-the-mouth and stumble. How wonderful for us that so many of St. Peter's foibles are preserved for us in the Gospels! ☺ They have given me such Hope over the years. I think to myself, "If St. Peter could do/say that and Jesus not only forgave him, but was able to use the same man, Peter, to lead His Church, then God can even find use for this poor fool who certainly been as frightened, said and done as many ignorant things, and failed to do what she was called to do."

Thanks again, Michael, for yet another inspiring post!

May the Blessed Apostles continue to inspire and pray for us!

Charli and me said...

They were very brave and couragous in deed. I think they had many doubts, didn't feel brave at times, and wondered 'why me' but Jesus picked them because he knew they would carry on his work. God picks special people for special jobs. Thank you for your post Michael. It was very thought provoking. I am also very grateful for the Apostles. If it wasn't for them where would we all be today. I hope you have a good week.

Michael said...

booklady - I think one of the most beautiful things Jesus did was choose "average" people to be his Apostles. To think, the gatekeeper of Paradise was but a humble, mistake-prone fisherman here on earth sure does give us hope! And to think of how much he did given the fact that he was never trained to inspire, orate, or lead. Its remarkable.

Carol - I think you are absolutely right ... God does pick special people for special jobs. For example, He chose you to help spread the Faith on your wonderful blog!