Pastor's Desk: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:
The Deep End - An Open Book
‘The Christian is a living epistle, known and read by all men, an open letter, an advertisement for Christianity.’
- William Barclay
What would an advertisement for Christianity look like? If you had to design an ad to sum up your faith, what would you include? On the one hand we are called to be joyful - to sing, shout, clap our hands and rejoice! But faith is not always so straightforward. There are many obstacles and temptations, and sometimes we are afraid to stand up for what we believe in. And then there’s today’s Gospel, which speaks of suffering, and tells us that following Jesus involves taking up our cross. How do we make sense of all this in the context of our faith journey?
The good news is we are not alone in our struggles. In today’s First Reading, Jeremiah struggles with his faith in one of his many ‘laments’. His faith has caused him to be a laughing stock. He feels conflicted; although his faith is inviting insult and derision, it is also a fire burning in his heart. In spite of people’s hostile reactions, he has been ‘seduced’ by God, and he cannot but speak out.
Is this how we feel about our faith? Is it like a fire burning within us, in our very bones, or are we lukewarm in our commitment? Following Jesus is a radical choice, now more than ever perhaps. Today’s readings teach us to be less concerned with what people think, and more concerned with living according to Jesus’ teachings - however others may react.