Articles from Third Ministries!

 

in     by Adam Cross 02/02/2017
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“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” — Pope Benedict XVI

Yesterday while driving home from work I was listening to an episode of Catholic Stuff You Should Know (arguably one of the greatest Catholic podcasts around) and I was reminded about how our Church thrives and grows, and also about how and why it doesn’t…

With our newly elected President Donald J. Trump, some of us Christians in the United States may be inclined to relax a little bit. We see that some of his first executive orders involve defunding abortions, which is awesome. For other Christians, President Trump is instilling anxiety and on-the-edge suspense without knowing exactly what he will say or do next. While President Trump has made it clear that making America great again means acknowledging aspects of the Christian faith (like actually saying “Merry Christmas” instead of just “Happy Holidays”), we are called to remember that we are not made to be relaxed. We are not made to be in a place of contentment with our faith. For many Christians, this might be a time to sit back a bit and watch others grumble, but that is not what we are made for. We are not made to be at the top of the "food chain". We are called to shake things up as Christ did, even if our personal choice of a political party is/is not in office at the moment. 

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” - Tertullian

Throughout the history of the Church, we can observe something huge. Our church thrives under persecution. When we are oppressed, we persevere. When we are pushed down, we grow. When we are persecuted, we evangelize more effectively than ever before. But when we are comfortable we can become stagnant in the faith. I think about the stories of St. Maximillian Kolbe who, while in the Auschwitz concentration camp, sacrificed his life for another Jewish man who was chosen to be killed. The result 30 years later was thousands upon thousands at his canonization Mass, celebrating the death and martyrdom of this brave Polish man and priest. However, this is nothing new; the origins of the Church are completely based upon martyrdom and persecution of the early Christians and Church Fathers. This resulted in a conversion that ultimately stretched across the entire world.  We have to look no further than the Apostles themselves and their deaths to know what it means to be a true follower of Christ. The early Christians converted many by singing hymns before their gruesome deaths; much like St. Maximillian Kolbe did in the starvation bunker at Auschwitz.  While many Christians may be thinking that 2017 is still definitely not a relaxed time for Christians in the United States and around the world, we must remember that we are called to share in the sufferings of Christ. To follow Him means to die to ourselves. As Jesus died innocently for the sins of others, we as the Church and the Bride of Christ are called to bare wrongs patiently and ultimately take on the sufferings of our world.

“Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”
— Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, #20.

Pope Francis is calling us to go out into the peripheries to bring the light of Christ to others and to challenge our own ways in which we love and evangelize. Yes, that means that we are called and sent to love both the unborn and the refugee. Is it always comfortable? No, but it is our mission as true disciples of Christ. While some of the world may look upon a “Christian” Presidency and smell hypocrisy for immigration policies and tense relations between ideological camps, it is so important that we as Catholic Christians begin to love harder, extend farther, and stand taller. St. Teresa of Avila prayed: "Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”  Now is not the time to relax or sit in smugness or hostility, but the time to love. Love in the peripheries, love within the disagreements, love amongst the controversy, love across political parties.  Jesus Himself told us “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:35 We are a missionary Church called to share the amazing news of Christ to our brothers and sisters all around us. We are not bound by political parties, ideologies, or the need to be right; we are bound to the person of Christ, our redeemer, our God and our King.


 

Adam Cross is a Youth Minister in SoCal and has his Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Adam works with teens in ministry and also works in the field of psychotherapy through Stillpoint Family Resources. Adam is active in youth and young adult ministry in the Ventura County region and has a love for Apologetics, the New Evangelization,  and integrating  theology and psychology. 

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