Is it hard to be a Christian?
In the first reading,
God tells the prophet Ezekiel:
I’m going to send you to my people—
but they won’t listen! Go anyway…
Look at what St. Paul said:
He had extraordinary revelations from God—
So God gave him a “thorn in the flesh”—
some sort of trial or humiliation;
St. Paul wrestled with “an angel of Satan”!
How does that sound?
Look at the Gospel.
God himself comes into the human scene.
Jesus comes to the synagogue
in his home town,
he stood up to teach, as before.
Look at the hard time they give him!
They were so disinterested in him,
that only a few even came to him,
To them, he was just “that kid, son of Mary,”
who grew up around here—that’s all.
So: is it hard being a Christian?
It was hard being Jesus Christ!
So, don’t be startled that:
It is hard to live for Jesus,
hard to follow all he asks of us.
Don’t be surprised when
others around us don’t have our backs.
You turn on the TV, go to a movie,
pick up a favorite CD;
you want to wear that outfit
that shows off your body;
Someone invites you to a party.
Then you think,
“Does this glorify God—is this right?”
And you get frustrated,
because you are torn
between something you want,
and what is right.
Welcome to the struggle.
Anything worth doing, is hard.
You have heard of Tiger Woods?
He’s 31 years old,
one of the greatest golfers ever.
First time he played
the Masters Tournament, he won;
set a record doing it! He was 21!
How did he do that?
Yes, God gave him a tremendous talent;
and he’s had some advantages
others have not.
But none of that made it easy.
And it still isn’t;
he has to work to stay where he is.
I’m not finding fault, but:
he does all that for fading glory.
The money, the fame,
the girls, his own physical abilities:
It will all fade away.
As Christians, you and I
are striving for eternal glory!
How many people do we know who choose
fleeting pleasure and earthly goods,
over the eternal question of good v. evil?
Our nation is at war;
and ordinary men and women
from families like ours have courageously
stepped forward to defend us from terrorism.
How hard is that? And yet they do it!
Every one of us faces
a life-and-death struggle:
not on some faraway battlefield,
but right here, in the battlefield of our hearts.
Most of the battles are not like D-Day,
or Pearl Harbor, or 9/11,
when it is so clear what’s at stake.
Most of the time, it’s over small decisions.
For soldiers, the daily challenge
is just sticking with it.
Tiger Woods faced the same choice:
am I going to spend yet, another day,
filled with hours of practice?
How many times
did he have to hit that ball?
The battles we face are the same—
over seemingly small matters:
“Who cares what I look at
on the Internet?”
“The company won’t miss this;
they can afford it.”
“I don’t need to pray.”
And here’s another battle:
How often do we say,
“I’ll start tomorrow.”
Imagine if Tiger Woods had said that.
Imagine if Ezekiel, St. Paul,
or Jesus, had said that.
So: why would we want to say that?
Nothing against Tiger Woods, but:
He’s pursuing fleeting glory;
you and I seek eternal glory!
God never promised Tiger Woods
he’d always be great.
God doesn’t guarantee our nation
will win every battle.
But God has promised
you and me every strength we need;
he will be in the battle with us,
he will put us back on our feet,
striving with us to gain our eternal salvation.
No, it’s not easy. So what?