The strongest men to ever walk the earth would have to be Jesus and Chuck Norris. In that order. Don’t believe me? Keep reading:
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”
So Jesus is traveling around healing people and casting out demons: miraculous feats that have “[never] been seen”. The Pharisees find themselves in a difficult situation–they don’t want people to fall for this Jesus guy, but there’s no way to deny that these miraculous acts are occurring. Instead, they question His motives and condemn His methods.
Parents never disagree with ends we’re trying to achieve: 1) bringing young people to a closer relationship with Christ; and 2) Confirmation. But they often attack the means to reach those ends (our motives and methods). Are retreats really necessary? Why do they need to participate in our small group program? Why do we waste time playing games? Do they really have to go to Mass every week?
It’s hard to convice parents of things they don’t want to accept. Namely, that building and strenghtening one’s faith life takes work (including retreating from the stresses of everyday life, faith-sharing with peers, building community, and regular encounters with the Eucharist). It’s even harder to do this in a parish where this whole idea of youth ministry is new.
The next verse is:
“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.”
Despite their attacks, despite their disapproval, He continued on in His mission of “proclaiming the gospel” in the way He thought best. He was strong enough to push forward in His ministry regardless of what His critics had to say.
Once a grizzly bear threatened to eat Chuck Norris. Chuck showed the bear his fist and the bear proceeded to eat himself, because it would be the less painful way to die.
Do you believe strongly enough in what you’re doing to stand against critics? If not, you need to revisit the vision for your ministry.