Today's Gospel: Mark 3:20-21 - Memorial of St. Agnes
Jesus enters the house, the crowd is so thick that Jesus and his disciples can’t even eat, and his relatives who hear of these massive crowds call Jesus “out of his mind.” Why do his relatives think this? Because if you have that many people clamoring after you, thinking you are someone very special, you must be out of your mind. Your relatives know you. And they know you are just an ordinary person.
St. Agnes probably faced a similar reaction when she was willing to die for her faith instead of caving in to government pressure to deny it. Often people just don’t understand faith. Faith is nice as long as it doesn’t really interfere with your life or anyone else’s. Once you start to live the faith and do what faith demands, you can make people uncomfortable. The most uncomfortable ones are often those who know you best.
Often we try to please those closest to us. Jesus could have told the crowd to go home, sat down with his disciples, and had a leisurely lunch. Agnes could have thought, “I still believe in Jesus, but I’ll pretend I don’t. That way no one will get upset.” The mom pregnant with a child diagnosed with a disability could think, “I’ll just get this abortion and then everyone will get off my back.” The CEO asked to cover up an indiscretion at work could rationalize, “This isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not like I’m murdering someone.” To avoid an argument, the busy mom might justify letting her children eat whatever they want. The young woman might reject entering religious life because her parents would be devastated if she did.
Jesus calls us to please God, not everyone else. Sometimes you can’t do both.
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What is God asking of you right now, and who are you afraid to offend if you do it?
Lord, give me the courage to do what you want without worrying about the reaction of other people who may not understand what you are calling me to do. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Madeline Pecora Nugent is a wife, mom and grandmom who is also a life-pledged member of the Confraternity of Penitents. She has had published several books offered in the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop including titles on the Divine Office, poor prenatal diagnosis, problem pregnancy help, Saint Anthony, and Saint Clare.