“Even today we can risk not getting close to Jesus because we don't feel big enough, because we don't think ourselves worthy. This is a great temptation; it has to do not only with self-esteem, but with faith itself.”
Last week I was blessed to share some prayer and reflection time with other parish leaders in my home Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We were listening to one among us share some really grace-filled conversations that emerged from her inviting her best girlfriends to participate in a Bible study. Another person on the Zoom congratulated her and asked the question that we all later confessed was on our minds. Why is it harder to share our faith with those we are closest to, especially our family and our friends? I moved from that Zoom to my men’s Gospel reflection group later that evening, where we read this past Sunday’s Gospel. We had a great discussion about how hard it is to digest Jesus’ words in Matthew 10: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." At some point the same question was asked by one of the men: "Why can I talk about this stuff with you guys who I don’t know that well and not with my son or my daughter?"
As I reread the Gospel, I realized that in Matthew 10, Jesus isn’t diminishing the worthiness of fathers or mothers, but rather impressing upon us the importance of our relationship with Him. It struck me that the reason I struggle to share faith with those closest to me is that I’m making a different calculation. I believe I have too much to lose by doing it. I’m afraid that if I initiate a conversation or respond by pointing to the Lord, I might offend or make uncomfortable and, ultimately, I am determining that it’s not worth the risk. While there is always a right time and place, is my reluctance to share my faith with others born out of not having the right opportunity, or rather not having the right priority? Am I sharing with certain people more because I have nothing to lose, or am I putting everything on the line because the people who I love the most are worth the risk? What risks are we willing to take for the Gospel? Blessings and courage for all those opportunities that may be before you this week!