The journey of discipleship is difficult. Between the internal dangers of pride, arrogance, and temptations to think and behave contrary to the divine standard, coupled with the external dangers of ridicule and the ever-present specter of persecution, it can be difficult to remain steadfast. Add to this a cultural landscape which applauds skepticism of all thing spiritual and/or divine and it can be easy to start to question how we can be confident in our confession.
The epistle reading today addresses this very issue. If we are going to journey with Christ as His disciples then we can expect to encounter situations which will cause us to pause and seek assurance from God Almighty that His way and words are true. To this end, St. Paul explains that our confidence does not come from blind allegiance to the dogmas and logic of human origin, that but the foundation of our faith, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, has been attested by the words of God himself through Holy Scripture and have been verified by numerous eye-witnesses, whose testimony has been passed on to us to this day.
Let us then not be led astray by vanities, nor falter when things are hard for us; in the one case deceit will flatter us, in the other our difficulties but grow worse. But since ‘ the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord’ (Psalm 32:5), everywhere the victory of the Lord is with us, that the words may be fulfilled which say: ‘Have confidence, I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Whether we are fighting the claims of the world, or the lusts of the flesh, or the darts of the heretics, let us at all times arm ourselves with the Lord’s Cross. And if we in the sincerity of truth keep from ourselves the leaven of our old wickedness, the Paschal Feast will never end for us.
~ St. Leo the Great (homily)