All too often we are told to be “nice”. I heard Fr. Richard Simon on Relevant Radio say, “’Nice’ often looks like religion, but it is not. ‘Nice’ is not the same as truth.”
We often hear it is better, “To go along to get along.” That is not a Christian teaching. We should be seeking harmony with God. Our harmony with God will often challenge our harmony with the world. If you live your Christian lives, you will frequently find yourself in conflict with the world. If you take the Gospels seriously, you will experience the same misunderstanding and division as Jesus.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing! …
… Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
Division? What does Jesus mean, when he says he comes to establish division? Jesus taught us to be charitable. Charity is not the same as “nice”.
Jesus was talking about our faith. Our faith had better divide us. The division caused by our faith should separate us from sin, unfaithfulness and immorality, so we can follow Jesus. We are called to choose which side of the division we will live our lives: With God? Or, with the World?
How about those who would have us worship our national pride and the flag rather than keep and teach the FIRST COMMANDMENT?
I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
The Cross is superior to any flag. However, there are many who are willing to place country ahead of God and Church.
How about the division and tension between those who don’t believe in the 3rd Commandment and those who do?
Keep holy the Sabbath.
Don’t miss Mass.
Often children know they should not miss Mass, but the parents don’t think they need to attend. Or the children don’t want to go to Mass, while the parents know they should. Parents, you were chosen by God to do the best for your children. It’s not a child’s decision to decide what is best for themselves. Follow God’s Commandments.
We read in the book of Hebrews,
… let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, …
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
We have all experienced division in our families due to our faith. It’s painful. It burns. We may even have to shed some blood for our faith. This pain tests us, but the trial makes our faith stronger.
“Nice’ is not a moral choice.
How about the division and tension between those who don’t believe in faithfulness between men and women, and don’t believe in the 6th Commandment?
You shall not commit adultery.
There are many who believe sex is acceptable any time between consenting adults. The philosophy of “Nice” asks us to be accepting of divorce. Jesus tells us that those who divorce and remarry are adulterers. Period. Division.
Tell me the difference between practicing homosexuals and practicing heterosexual fornicators. Both are equally immoral. We are frequently told to be “nice” and tolerant. Sexual sin is immoral. The Church teaches that Pornography is immoral. God expects us to separate ourselves from immorality. Division!
How about the division between those who say they don’t believe in the 7th Commandment,
You shall not steal….,
… and those who cannot control themselves with other people’s property, even paperclips and paper; or those who practice cheating and even ignore cheating, even among children in school. People try to say they are not sinning when they steal or cheat because something is small. Cheating in school or anywhere is sin. The reason I have chosen to say, “Stop stealing paperclips”, is because of those who try to convince themselves, “But Father, it was as small thing I stole, nothing big”, as if small makes it not sin. Or, “Father, I only changed labels in the store to pay less”, as if this cheating makes it not sin. We need to learn the lesson: If it is not yours, it is not yours. “Stop stealing paperclips.”
Our parish exists to help Jesus create division. Each of us have to chose which side we want to be on: The world with its sin? Or the Reign of God and eternal salvation? Don’t be “nice”. Be moral. Be strong. Be faithful. Be saved.
Yes, we are taught to be charitable. The charity we are asked to display deals with the lesson that we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Be very afraid of sin. Don’t be afraid of division created by our faith.