"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man."
Scholars write often about what they call the "hard sayings" of Jesus, but some of these are also dangerous. At the time of Jesus, the earliest believers were forced to make painful choices. Unwelcome in the synagogue when they refused to renounce their claim that Jesus was the Messiah of God, the first Christians had very little to ground their lives. Already poor, they were now ostracized, and their isolation was deep. Because they responded with courageous faith, we exist!
Contemporary Christians must often face similar struggles, but it would be a mistake and a different kind of danger to reduce our faith to a set of formulas. Our faith ought to be dangerous because of how we live, not just by what we say. Only when we remember that Jesus stood with the poor and reminded everyone that the last would be first and the first last, can we be sure that we are doing God's will. If we live as if the only thing that matters is our material, financial or national security and refuse to see others as brothers and sisters in the God who loves all as his children, we are not being faithful to the whole Gospel.
Today, ask God to help you discern whether you are living your faith courageously, not just stubbornly.
Whose faith do you most admire as reflective of Christ's inclusive love?