Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:  Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. ( Matthew 5:11-12, Douay-Rheims)
If you call yourself a follower of Christ, you have to decide what kind of follower you will be. You may be one of those followers who calls himself a follower of Christ in the comfort found beneath your bed, where you proudly whisper His Name in defiance of the world outside. Better still, you may be one of those followers who dares to utter His Name in the safety of your home, where you valiantly speak His Name when no guest who might be offended or become angry is around. Perhaps, you may be one of those followers who actually speaks His Name in your home while some people who might not like it are getting a drink or a snack from your refrigerator. Dare I go further? Yes, why not! Could it be that you have the courage to actually speak His Name outside your home, making sure the nobody is within an earshot of what you are saying. Better still, maybe you actually speak His Name within hearing distance of someone who might be deeply wounded by the mere mention of your Master’s Holy Name. If you are any of these, I challenge you to be much, much more, not because I am in a position to judge you much less compare myself to you, for like you I am a sinner badly needing Christ’s Mercy. No, I challenge you not on my accord or by any virtue of being qualified for this labor but; rather, because My Lord gives me the audacity to suggest that He is all that should matter to you, and that anything you think, feel, see, say, do, or plan should be run through a simple test; namely, whether it brings greater glory to His Name, and helps others to be closer to Him.
What kind of follower am I challenging you to become then? I am asking you to consider one who embraces the spit. Yes, Christ told us that we will be spit upon, mocked, despised, and unfairly persecuted if we follow Him. Doors will be closed on us just as they were closed on Him the night He was born. Laughter and insults will be hurled against us by mindless imbeciles too ignorant and arrogant to respect as well as too hypocritical and illogical to be relevant. You will be tempted to abandon Him, to avoid the rain that awaits those who follow His Word. I challenge you not to avoid that rain, not to run for cover from it. Rather, smile and welcome those storms, for they are a blessing from Heaven. Stand up and open your arms and mind to the privilege of being criticized, mocked, ridiculed, insulted, and persecuted for having the courage to believe, speak, and act as a true follower of our Master.
There will surely be those who will mockingly say, “Who do you think you are, do you think you are better than we are?” Others will squeal “Look who is judging me, the one who…..” Do not listen to these cries, for they come from the evil one who only wants to make you feel like a hypocrite, like a fool with no standing in this fight. I am here to tell you that you have a very good standing in this battle, and every reason to be part of it. If you truly love Him, and you truly want to follow Him, then you belong in these front lines fighting for Him.
The world will not understand you because it cannot grasp why following anyone, much less a distant Carpenter who hung like a criminal should be worth all of this aggravation in the present. You can try to explain your loyalty if you wish, and perhaps Our Lord will give you the words to do so. What matters most, however, is that you bravely and loyally serve Him, follow His Word, model His actions and love, and proudly speak of Him to all who will hear. Where you will most confuse this world, however, will be in the way you will embrace the rain rather than run for cover from it. You will relish any suffering you find due to following Him, and see such sorrow as a blessing well worth the effort. At the end of the day, at the end of your days, and at the end of this world’s days, you will embrace the rain if you believe that God alone, is what matters in this world, in this life, and in your future.
Copyright, 2011 Gabriel Garnica