THE FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT
Jesus could pretty quickly see what he could expect from his own people. The Gospel writers haven’t hidden from us the resistance he experienced, the scandal and opposition he met, even in the areas closest to him. His free and liberating action ended up being all too upsetting. His behavior put too many interests at stake.
Jesus knew it from the beginning of his prophetic activity. It’s hard for someone to set themselves to acting and listening faithfully to God and be accepted in a people that have their faces turned away from God. «No prophet is ever accepted in his own country».
We believers shouldn’t forget it. You can’t try to faithfully follow Jesus and not provoke in some way the reaction, the criticism, and even the rejection of those who for all kinds of reasons can’t be in agreement with an evangelical approach to life.
It ends up hard for us to go against the current. We’re afraid of being different. For quite a while now it’s fashionable to «be fashionable«. And not only when we dealing with acquiring a winter outfit or choosing summer colors. The «dictatorship of fashion» imposes on us the gestures, the manners, the way of speaking, the ideas, the attitudes and the positions we should defend.
You need to large dose of courage to be faithful to you own convictions, when the whole world is adjusted and adapted to «what’s fashionable». It’s easier to live without a personal project of living, letting ourselves be carried by convention. It’s much easier to set ourselves up comfortably in life and live according to what is told us from outside.
At the beginning, maybe you are still listening to that inner voice that tells you that this isn’t the right path for growing as a person or as a believer. But soon we settle down. We don’t want to pass for someone «abnormal» or a «stranger». You’re much safer not leaving the flock.
And so we keep on walking. In the flock. Meanwhile from the Gospel we keep being invited to be faithful to Jesus’ project, even when it can give rise to criticism and rejection from society, and even within the Church.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf