During the time of Jesus, it would not be a surprise if many wanted to be his disciple. They must have seen his fame. People were following him were ever he may be. Further, they loved his preaching. They must have seen his power. Even the Chief Priests, the Scribes and the Pharisees were afraid of him. They must have seen his blessings. He healed so many people and because of that, surely the material blessings flowed in.
Yet Jesus said those were just the externals. The fame, the power, and the money all come and go. What is important in discipleship is the total trust in God. When we trust in God, we cannot have two masters, we are going to love one and despise the other. It cannot be God and money. This is the message of the Gospel.
Hence, three red flags that our faith is being compromised.
- Superstitious Beliefs. Just go to a wake and there are all the superstitious practices: You cannot bring home food; you cannot bring out your guests; you cannot clean the place; you have to pass by a restaurant after the wake to confuse the evil spirits; etc, etc. Just go to a house blessing: You have a Sto. Nino on one hand and a pussy cat with hands going up and down in another. Once I was asked to do a wedding to start at a given time. I asked why the time? That is what the fortune-teller told them would be the best time. The more superstitious beliefs, the more the faith is compromised.
- Giving. Our faith tells us not to put the Lord to the test but only in one instance – tithing. That is giving to the Church. The Lord says, “Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10). Yet, how much do we give to our Church compared to our cell phone bills? Our shopping? Our dining?
- Doing What is Right. How often have we heard, “do what is right and nothing will be done?” If you don’t bribe, if you don’t cheat, if you don’t pay off, nothing will happen. Indeed it is a world that is not perfect and it is not black or white, but if you can do what is right, God will never abandon you.
We remember the words of Christ, “Come follow me.” It is not easy because of God’s ways, his time, and his wisdom are very different from ours. There will be times we will feel abandoned and that God does not care. Yet, in God’s perfect time, plan, and wisdom, he will answer our prayers.