I have to admit I’m a bit late on this one. I realize that the whole “Jesus vs. Religion” showdown is sooooo last month, but I think it’s worth taking another look at.
Who hasn’t thought at one point or another about how great it would be to just have Jesus without all the rules and lists of things we’re supposed to do? Why do we need all the rules? Why can’t we just have Jesus without all the obligations? Sure, Jesus spoke often about the importance of following His commands (Luke 8:21) but why do we even need religion then? Why do we need labels and definitions? Why can’t we just be close to Him and not worry about all the details?
Yesterday, December 26th, we celebrated the feast of St. Stephen. He was the first martyr. Isn’t it interesting how the Church has placed the feast of Christmas and the feast of this saint right after one another? I feel like we’re supposed to learn something here . . .
Accepting Jesus as our Savior and following Him costs a lot. Blessed Bartolome knew that and wasn’t afraid of death even though it meant leaving his beloved behind.
Below is a letter that Bartolomé Blanco Márquez wrote to his girlfriend from prison the day before he was executed during religious persecution in Spain in the 1930′s.