Generation ‘Maybe’


Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24

These are challenging words from Jesus. They cut to the heart and demand a response. Jesus invites us to count the cost, and decide whether He is worth following. Are we willing to endure hardship, suffering, and pain for the hope of eternal glory? Are we willing to deny our own desires in order to be purified by the will of God? Are we willing to follow wherever Jesus leads; in short, are we willing to be a disciple?   

Unfortunately, I believe the response of most of my generation to those questions would be: “maybe”. Very often I fall into the same non-commital attitude that infects my peers. “Yeah ok, I might come,” or “Maybe I can make it,” are two common phrases that accompany virtually every invitation. We love to keep our options open since something better or more exciting could appear at any moment. We struggle to commit to seeing a movie on a Friday night, let alone big things like marriage, children, or faith. I’ve come to realize that this irrational fear of commitment is both destructive and a huge obstacle to knowing, loving, and serving God. God doesn’t want wishy-washy followers; He desires decisiveness and intentionality.

A key to understanding true discipleship and therefore recognizing the twisted nature of being non-committal is illustrated by the words of Christ, “If any man could come after me, let him deny himself…” It seems to me that commitment to Christ requires a willingness to ignore or even reject our own desires. To be His follower involves an acceptance that we follow Him. He comes first. I have often heard my generation described as selfish or self-centered and it’s clear that the spirit of this age wants every individual person to think for themselves, seek personal pleasure, and fulfill one’s own dreams. This is the essence of narcissism, which explains why my generation continues to fall away from Christ at a staggering rate. Heaven forbid we follow anything since that could mean a submission of our will to another. We don’t like many rules, but “think for yourself or do what feels right,” is one rule we eagerly embrace. Because of this, I think we can aptly be called “Generation Maybe.”  We might do this or we could do that, as long as it fits into the plan we have for ourselves. This is not what God intended and this cannot characterize a disciple of Jesus Christ.

We all have dreams and we all have some idea of what we think will make us happy and fulfilled. We long to be included, loved, and celebrated, and that’s ok. Additionally,  the options for pleasure and fun have never been more numerous, and the freedom to choose is intoxicating. However, only through commitment to Christ can we experience those things that we most deeply long for in our hearts. We can continue to operate as a generation full of “me” people, shrinking from the slightest sign of commitment. The Lord offers us a life-giving alternative: “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.

What’s your answer?

Please don’t say, “Maybe.”


Periodic Scripture Reflection: John 14:30

saint-john-the-apostle“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.  He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

This passage from the Gospel of John comes from a long exhortation from Jesus. It fits nicely around famous verses like “I am the vine and you are the branches…” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” and therefore could be easily overlooked. These are two simple sentences that reveal much about Jesus’ posture and relationship with the Father. The first line serves as a warning to Christ’s disciples that the Passion is quickly approaching. Even though they have spent countless hours with Jesus, they still don’t fully realize what is to come. The coming days will be filled with confusion, fear, and sadness as Jesus is taken from them and He wants to give them reassurance. He warns that the “ruler of this world” (Satan) is coming but the power of darkness does not control Him. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Guys, our time together is coming to a close, and it’s going to look bad, but don’t worry, I’m doing what the Father wants me to do.” The final phrase reveals so much about the heart of Jesus towards His Father: “…but I do as the Father commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” Jesus goes to the cross to save us, rescue us, bridge the gap between God and man, to become the sacrificial lamb, to redeem mankind, to open the gates of Heaven, and to show the world how much He loves His Father. Jesus endured the worst suffering, embraced humiliation, and accepted total rejection to demonstrate His love for us and for His Abba.

This is the ultimate example of how Christ wants us to act towards the Father. We need to embrace the Father’s plan, not out of fear or obligation, but to show the world that we love the Father. When someone asks you why you go to Mass on Sunday or why you don’t use contraception, I bet they won’t expect you to say, “I do as my Father has commanded me, because I love Him.”

True Love – Part I

Macklemore-Ryan-Lewis-Same-Love-Music-Video By Peter Herbeck

“We press play, don’t press pause, Progress, march on! With a veil over our eyes, we turn our back on the cause. ‘Till the day that my uncles can be united by law…a certificate on paper isn’t going to solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start…whatever God you believe in we come from the same one, strip away the fear, underneath, it’s all the same love. About time that we raised up! Love is patient, love is kind. Love is patient, love is kind…”

These are some of the lyrics of an enormously popular song by hip-hop artist Macklemore called Same Love. The song, which has gone viral with nearly fifty million views of the music video version, is about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Over the past few weeks a number of young people have brought up the song in conversation. Just yesterday a twenty-two year old relative of mine, asked me if I had ever heard the song. He raised the question in the context of a discussion we were having about same-sex marriage. He pointed out that it is not only a very catchy song and fun to listen to, but that it is confusing because the story it tells is that true love, God’s love, embraces same-sex marriage.

In fact, Macklemore ends the song by repeating words from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind,” which is arguably the most famous passage on love in the entire Bible. In essence, what he is saying is, to love like Jesus loves, the love that is patient and kind, the love that is the opposite of “hate,” is a love that celebrates homosexual acts and fights for the legalization of same-sex marriage. That’s the argument.

It’s essentially the same argument, without explicit appeal to the New Testament, that Justice Anthony Kennedy presented in the decision of the majority of justices on the Supreme Court who struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as being defined by one man and one woman. Justice Anton Scalia summarized the majority opinion this way: “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated.”

Indeed, the truth about love is more complicated. From a Catholic point of view, there is no love without the truth. Love and truth always go together. In his homily during the canonization of Edith Stein, Pope John Paul II said that St. Teresa Benedicta, the “martyr of love,” taught us all that “love and truth have an intrinsic relationship,” and that “love and truth need each other.”

The truth love seeks is the good of the other. That is, to love someone means that I will their good. I want what is best for them. What is best for every person is what will lead to genuine human flourishing and this only happens when we “live the truth.” That is, when live the life we were made to live, when we recognize how God made us, and live in accord with his plan for our lives.

Pope John Paul continued: “St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all: Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”

This is why St. Paul, in the very passage Macklemore quotes, says that love “does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right” (1 Corinthians 13:6). What Macklemore and so many others are demanding is that in the case of active homosexuality and same-sex marriage, in order to love, we must “rejoice in what is wrong.”

*Stay tuned for True Love – Part II which will focus on the Church’s Teaching and the ‘Dictatorship of Relativism*

Interesting Interview with Cardinal Dolan and Fr. Barron

Recently, Fr. Robert Barron visited Timothy Cardinal Dolan in New York City.  After celebrating Mass together, the two of them entertained some questions from the media.  The brief interview is worth watching because they both do an excellent job representing the orthodoxy of the Church while maintaining humor and good will.  Additionally, Cardinal Dolan expertly treads the fine line of challenging the media with honest yet loving answers.

Great Commentary on Recent Pope Francis’ Interviews


Both of Pope Francis’ recent interviews have caused significant waves through the Catholic Church and the secular media.  Nearly everyone has an opinion on his perspective, style, and content.   Below is a link to an article written by Carl E. Olson for The Catholic World Report which presents a very balanced and thoughtful look at the Holy Father’s comments.  Feel free to respond to the article in the comments section or under the original article.

Pope Francis: The Good, the Baffling, and the Unclear by Carl E. Olson

Bishop Michael Byrnes live tonight!


Tonight, we are excited to welcome Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes, from the Archdiocese of Detroit, to our October Disciples’ Night.  The title of his talk is What Next? Deeper Conversion.  We will be going live at 7:35 pm EST.  To watch the video click here or copy and paste link below.