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Faith in God a difficult path

 

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

July 25 was the Feast of St James, the first of the apostles to be martyred (Acts 12:1-2), whom the Lord asked, as well as his brother John, "Can you drink the cup I must drink (Matthew 20:22)?".

James, John and the other apostles had much to learn. Mistakenly, they thought following Jesus was about honour and prestige. We see this when the apostles are arguing with one another about "who is the greatest (Luke 9:46)".

They would come to learn that association with Jesus will mean rejection and hostility. As their love for the Lord developed and matured, they would, willingly and joyfully, embrace His Cross and follow Him.

To drink from the Lord's cup is to share His sufferings so as to share His glory (Romans 8:17). It is to "go to Him outside the camp and share in His disgrace (Hebrews 13:13)". It is to choose the lowest place with the One "despised and rejected", that Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). The Lord warned His disciples "you will be hated by all on account of me (Matthew 10:21-23)".

As it was in those early days of the Gospel, so it is also now. For those who love the Lord, this is the normal state of affairs. For "alas for you when the world speaks well of you (Luke 6:26)".

For example, those who contend for the "Faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)" cannot agree with the redefinition of marriage as many would have it today. That does not mean that Christians suffer from phobias concerning groups of their fellow human beings. Far from it.

Likewise with abortion. At present, it appears likely that one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world is going to be railroaded through, without consultation, on the people of Northern Ireland.

True Christians will always oppose abortion. Abortion is no mere matter of opinion because it is a child who is intentionally and brutally killed.

The true Christian must be counter-cultural. Human culture is often infected with evil, and evil, even if it prospers, will never prevail. The Lord tells us to "fret not on account of the wicked (Psalm 37:1)". We are to be faithful to Him and bear witness to His Truth. The battle belongs to the Lord (I Samuel 17:47).

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