Christianity as Counter Culture

Christianity - bear your cross of follow Christ

Last Sunday, the Lord Jesus declared the blessedness of Simon and even called him Peter upon whom he builds his Church. Today, he does the opposite: the Lord rebuked Peter and called him Satan. You might immediately conclude that the Lord is fickle-minded: he says one thing today and then its exact opposite the next day. It is easy to accuse the Lord of such because we forget that the apparent contradiction of the names he used on Simon were his response to Simon’s declarations. Jesus called Simon blessed because he listened to the Father. His declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, was something which can be revealed only “by my Father in heaven.” On the other hand, today, Jesus called Simon “Satan” because “you are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.” Simon found the idea of Jesus having to suffer and die as repulsive to his dignity as Son of the Living God. There seems to be nothing wrong about what Simon Peter said. After all, none of us would ever entertain the idea of a loved one having to suffer and die. We humanly find suffering and death as repulsive and as an evil to avoid. But, as Jesus said, this is how human beings think…not God. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We prefer the path of self-indulgence. But His way is one of self-denial. We pursue a burden-free life. He tells us to carry our cross. We want to do things our own way. He tells us to follow him. We measure profits by gains and accumulations. He measures it by losses: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”

The contradiction is so very obvious and we, Christians, find ourselves constantly pressured to compromise with the world in order to make life easier for ourselves. The world has resorted to name-calling to discredit the Church’s fidelity to the teaching of Christ. It has called us “antiquated”, “medieval”, and “irrelevant.” And oftentimes, the world issues us the threat that unless we swim with the tide and move with the times, the Church will simply disappear in anonymity. But to do this is to abandon the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel. To think as human beings do and to oppose the mind of God is to put a hindrance to the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Church must not adjust to the culture of modern times. Rather, she must present to men a counter-culture. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, admonishes us: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” The Christian way is the way of the Cross. The Cross is the sign of contradiction. Christ is the sign of contradiction. And to follow Jesus along this way of the Cross is to swim against the current. To walk along the path of self-denial is to walk against the flow. When we adjust our doctrines and way of life to the standards of the world, we do the world a disservice because we deprive humanity of that opportunity to know Jesus Christ and his Truth that sets us free. What the world needs now is not a Church that dances to its tune, but one who dares to raise the Cross as the only sign of hope and of salvation. GK Chesterton said: in this day and age we need “not a Church that is right when the world is right, but a Church that is right when the world is wrong.” “Whoever loses his life for my sake,” says the Lord, will find it.” Therefore, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.”

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This was posted by Father Jojo Zerrudo on his blog, Sense of the Sacred.

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