Monday, May 26, 2014

The World's Greatest Scandal


 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Luke 7:23) KJV
And blessed is he whosoever shall not be scandalized in me. (Luke 7:23) Douay-Rheims
This is one of the most amazing things Jesus ever said.  Only a sinless man could say it.

Imagine if I were to say, "Blessed is anyone who is not scandalized by me."  As if I've never done anything that would cause scandal!  I've done some really shameful things - even since last Thursday.

Hookers? cocaine? multi-level marketing? Tell us!  Tell us!

No, I won't tell you, for fear my status as EWTN Rock Star would crumble. But seriously, my bad behavior - the bad behavior of any Christian - could easily lead others away from the Faith.  I could be a witness of doubt and not of the gospel.  We all could.  Martyrs not to Christ but to Antichrist.

And I know a few saints.  I really do.  I know some people who are filled with sanctity and who are living their lives in imitation of Christ.

And not a one of them could say, "Blessed is the man who does not find scandal in what I do!"  They all have sins and imperfections that could easily cause a brother to stumble, especially if their sins were not seen in the broader context of their persistent attempts to repent and serve the Lord.

St. Paul was so careful not to cause scandal that he advised giving up even good things, if partaking of such good things could offend someone weak in faith.  For example, what should a Christian do if a fellow Christian new in the faith who happens to be a vegetarian, is scandalized and offended by seeing someone he hoped was holy eating a Big Mac.  This sounds silly, and we'd be tempted to say, "Get over it.  This ain't no sin," as we eagerly chowed down. But Paul says ...

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (1 Cor. 8:13

Even giving the appearance of scandal is a serious thing - even if no real sin is involved.

And so, fellow sinner, the next time someone avoids you because you stand as a source of offense or embarrassment to them - even if this person is avoiding you because your good behavior causes scandal (Christ and even good Christians remain a stumbling block for many) -  rejoice and be glad.  Remember that you are not worthy of admiration.  If you're anything like I am, you're worthy of contempt.

But we can overcome our scandals by uniting them to the Cross - the Greatest Scandal the World has Ever Known, the source of the embarrassment, offense and consternation of many.



1 comment:

Howard said...

Amen!

That's why I find the term "anti-Christian" problematic. Does it describe someone who is offended by Christ, or by Christians?

It's a paradox, really: the best reason to believe in Christ is the Church, and the best reason not to is the people who make up the Church.