By Richard Watkins
I don’t like fish. Rather, I don’t like eating fish. As a child I had a bad experience with a filet of something with bones and to this day, the mere thought of eating fish gives me the dry heaves. So…I don’t like fish.
My wife likes fish. She likes to eat fish. She wants me to eat fish too because she likes and it’s healthful and doesn’t want to just make for her and something else for me. I don’t like fish. So, I don’t eat it.
She’ll tell me I’ll like it. I tell her no. She’ll tell me it’s not very fishy at all. I tell her neither are sausages. She’ll tell me it it’s good for me. I tell her so is 8 hours of sleep, yet she still wakes me up around the six-and-a-half hour mark of slumber. She gets frustrated that I can’t be convinced and I get frustrated at the constant bombardment of being asked to do something I don’t want to do.
Some people don’t like Jesus. Rather, they don’t believe in Jesus. As Christians, and more specifically Catholics, we are called to evangelize. To spread the Good News. To promote the living Gospel of Jesus Christ. To testify and witness to the masses (can I get an Amen?). But sometimes doing that is like my wife telling me I should eat fish. Even though doing so (believing and eating fish) doesn’t really take a lot of extra effort. Maybe you will have to read up on Him a little bit. Pray a bit. Focus on Him instead of, oh I don’t know, making sure you have time to watch the latest episode of NCIS or This is Us. Really, at the end of the day, there’s not much that needs to go into it. But still, some people refuse.
So maybe, instead, you take the “But it’s good for you” approach. Believing in Jesus in worthwhile. It’s healthy. But then they counter with the “I’m happy the way I am” retort. Then you come back with “But are you the happiest you can be” or “but are you really happy?” And they come back with “How dare you assume to know anything about me, and get off my porch!” Now everyone is mad at each other. And it all snowballs from there.
The thing is, people don’t want to be pushed. And do you know who knew this most of all? Jesus. Nowhere in the Bible is there a story of Jesus telling someone “Believe in me and receive eternal life” and when he refused, Jesus yelled at him, called him stupid, told him to go Hell and put him in a headlock until he said uncle. On the contrary. When Jesus, according to Mark 6:7-11, “…summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits…Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
The disciples were not to linger on or argue with folks who refuse the message. They weren’t to spend time shouting at deaf ears. Not everyone will listen. We are told that once we’ve done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won’t listen for they will be able to explain themselves to God as to why they refused to act for their own well-being. Just like I will need to explain to my doctor why I didn’t listen to my wife and eat more fish and fewer bacon wrapped chili dogs as he’s prepping me for a triple bypass surgery. I knew I should have listened to my wife to begin with.