Lord, help us with your grace,
To remain focused to the eternal reward that you promises us
Even in the midst of all uncertainties of this world. Amen
One year ago I met a young lady of 27 years who asked me. Father, I get confused by the concept of eternal life, and I really don’t want to live eternally. I asked her if she was baptized and she told me yes and she can remember too well the question the priest asked her during the baptismal rite. What was the question? I asked. She promptly responded to me: “what do you ask of the church?” I asked the lady, what answer did you give? She replied, the answer was faith/baptism. Then I began to explain to her that from that moment you made your decision/choice to follow and live your faith which will give eternal life. Immediately she told me, wait! I made it consciously but it wasn’t clear for me. When I asked her if she really want to live eternally, she rejected it.
Today, Peter tells Jesus: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”this is a choice of Peter the apostle (John 6:68).
Perhaps many today reject faith and the choice to follow Christ and the church because it is all about eternal life and they find the idea of eternal life unattractive. May be they are lacking someone to trust with their life stories and get help they may need in order to make informed choices. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life where they can make a choice between:
iphone and sumsang, Prado and Volkswagen, nice restaurants, Apple computer and Toshiba, Town parish and village parish without good roads, one beautiful woman to marry over many, simple life over elegant power filled life, going to catholic church and another church and so forth.
The concept of eternity seems to be an impediment to making faith based choices. For some people today, living endlessly would appear like a curse more than a gift and people would desire to postpone death if possible to continue enjoying life here on earth with many choices to make.
Some young people today argue that living endlessly is monotonous and unbearable. How will a young person today understand those words of Peter? Probably they will be heard with rejection.
Making decision today to follow Christ, to be in his church may sound naive to some people due to advanced technology that offers us many options and seem to give quick answers. Some people choose to be in a stadium watching football than in the long boring mass. Postmodernism influence seems to determine so much of our choices.
But let us learn from saint Augustine of Hippo, he had all what he needed and made all the choices available but still wasn’t satisfied until he decided to know God and believe in him. Saint Bakhita was robbed her human dignity through slavery but that didn’t scare her from deciding to follow Christ to eternity. Saint Maximillan Kolbe decided to offer his life for another prisoner to live and sets before us an example of radical decision guided by his faith.
Let us find out new ways of helping people of all walks of life to make a choice to follow Christ and be in his church. Above all, help them to make the right choice that shapes their life in a NEW WAY in today’s life settings which give rise to contradictions and hopes.
Decision making can be difficult for each one of us and without the grace of God decision to follow Christ appear to be the most difficult. Perhaps the readings are inviting us to find out new ways to help others make life-changing decisions in their marriage and family life, Christian life and life in general.