The prophet Isaiah has a tough life. Yet he is famous for his gentle, peaceful writing. In the first reading he says “The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” This opening of ears or eyes or hearts is a common part of being a prophet, and it begins by the prophet having it happen to them. Once we see something is wrong, it’s hard to not want to fix it. A crooked picture or a stain on a shirt some people will let slide, but a crying child pierces our hearts. Yet while doing the right thing is always worth it, it is not always easy. I’m going to drop a rare Harry Potter quote here and say “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” This is precisely Isaiah’s problem.

Yet in spite of being spit on he is able to say that he is not disgraced. He says he will not put to shame, because he knows that he is right and in the end God’s side will win. Justice will win. So it is better to be on the side of what is right than the wide side: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Matt 7:13-14.

Peter though, like you and I, would love to find a way that is right AND easy. A way to help the oppressed that doesn’t make oppressors angry.  That temptation is a constant one, and so Jesus is very firm with Peter: “the Son of Man MUST suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed”.  That’s not an easy road.

Yet, Jesus continues: “and rise after three days.”  The only thing more certain than suffering when we follow Christ is resurrection. The worst spitting that Isaiah endured could not take away his joy in knowing that he was doing the right thing.

I don’t know what crosses you are carrying now. It may be tempting at times to set them aside and find that easy road. To cheat a little bit, to lie a little bit, to steal a little bit, to stop working for peace or justice. I know I am tempted. I know I’ve failed. Yet I take comfort in Christ’s words: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Stay strong, and think of the peace that is still to come.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan

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