Fair-weather friend?

Published 6:24 pm Saturday, January 29, 2022

Brother Maximilian Watner

We have all seen those die-hard sports fans who wear their team’s colors and all kinds of “merch” no matter the time of year or how well their team is doing. There is something to be admired there, and secretly the rest of us, who only follow our favorite team when they are doing well, wish we had the same level of enthusiasm and loyalty.

Now let us turn this same idea toward our Christian life. Are we fair-weather friends of Jesus or do we retain our enthusiasm and loyalty in times of trial?

Look back at the life of Our Lord. When He worked miracles, throngs of adoring fans followed Him everywhere He went. One man’s friends could not bring him close enough to Jesus, so they climbed the roof of the house and cut a hole in it to let down the man who needed healing.

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Everyone followed Him. On Palm Sunday, when Our Lord entered triumphantly into Jerusalem, the pennants were green, the parade glorious.

Five days later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, after the traitor Judas came with the soldiers to capture Jesus, Peter pulled out his sword in defense of Our Lord. He knew Jesus could defeat the enemies before them without any difficulty. He had just watched them all fall to the ground at the mere sound of Our Lord’s voice. He called out a question which was really a statement, a statement of, “Let’s get ‘em!” He launched into the attack with zeal and made a mess. Our Lord cleaned up the mess and, in effect, said to him that fighting a glorious hand-to-hand battle was not the answer. Rather, this time, they had to look like losers.

We all know what happened. Peter ran away. So did everyone else.

What about us? Are we ready to wear the colors of Christ through good times and bad? Are we ready to look like losers? Our Lord’s message in the Garden to the sleeping apostles was clear – watch and pray. He warned them, as He warns us. We cannot solve the problem our own way. We must watch and pray and let Him act in us. We are all too quick to pull out the sword of our own will, especially in the most trying circumstances. The test is, what do we do when we realize that Our Lord wants us to put that sword back in the scabbard and face the enemy without a fight, looking like a loser? Watch and pray.

A non-believer looks at the crucifix and sees a loser. A Christian looks at the crucifix and sees TheWinner. What do we see? Will we follow Him? Will we ask forgiveness for our persecutors as we hang on the cross like He did? Will we hide His team colors in times of trial? Let us watch and pray. We are following The Winner, and it will be worth it.

Br. Maximilian Watner is on the the staff at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Buckingham County. He can be reached at webmaster@stas.org.