This is the big question that we all have to face at one time or another in our lives. It is not enough to be able to know what is right; we have to have the strength and conviction to live by the truth that we have come to know through faith. We may think that we can avoid having to make a stand for our faith by living quietly and privately, however, I can assure you that there will come a time when each of us has to draw from the strength within to stand by our convictions in the face of persecution. This is rarely an enjoyable experience. Jesus hints at this in today’s Gospel when He tells His disciples that they may well see their friends and families divided according to beliefs one way or the other.

It is not that God desires division in our communities or society as a whole, however, He desire truth and integrity. He demands that we be willing to embrace the Gospel and all that it entails and live it to the full. There are times when this will cause conflict simply because some people are not willing to embrace the truth to its fullest extent because they are not yet ready to give up practices in their lives that are sinful. The cause of division is not the truth as such, but rather sin in the form that it refuses to embrace the truth!

Each one of us must make this decision to live by the truth and thus live with the consequences of confronting the sin in the lives of even our closest friends and relatives. This is not an easy thing to embrace but without it our witness to the Gospel is compromised and diminished in its effectiveness and power. Jesus had few if any hesitations about embracing the path before Him, so let us draw strength from His example and move forward in our mission and call.

The ability to stand firm in the face of adversity is a universally recognized virtue. It can draw admiration from even the most bitter of enemies. There is no doubting the courage and commitment that such a stance takes and this is the reason why those willing to walk this path of life are those who are among the most effective evangelists. Look at the life of Paul! He suffered tremendous hardships and deprivation but he counted it all as insignificant and nothing for the sake of knowing the power of Christ at work in his life.

Have I got the courage to stand for what I know to be true even if it might mean isolation and suffering as a result?

Lord Jesus, I pray for the grace to realize along with Paul that there is no greater experience in life than living and dying for you and in your service. Grant me the grace to stand firm in the face of trials and suffering so that you may receive the glory.