The Sermon on the Mount and the Cross

I am reading Life of Christ by the Venerable Abp. Fulton Sheen. Although at first his language struck me as dated, but after a little reading it was clear that his content is timeless, and maybe even more applicable today than in his day because the trends that concerned him in the 1970s have now come into their fullness.

The book goes through the life of Jesus Christ chronologically, drawing material from all four Gospels. Sheen’s primary theme is that the Cross dominates Jesus’ life from the very beginning. Jesus was born to die.

Right now, I’m reading the chapter on the Sermon on the Mount. Here is a great paragraph:

The Sermon on the Mount is so much at variance with all that our world holds dear that the world will crucify anyone who tries to live up to its values. Because Christ preached them, He had to die. Calvary was the price He paid for the Sermon on the Mount. Only mediocrity survives. Those who call black black and white white, are sentenced for intolerance. Only the grays live.

This opposition between an authentic Christian life and the way of the world has always been the case, but when the culture is nominally Christian, it is not so obvious. However, as our culture has rejected its Christian heritage, we should not be surprised to find open hostility from the mainstream if we strive to follow Jesus with our whole lives. Therefore, any Christian leader that is adored by the media and the pundits should ask himself if he is truly following Christ, or is he distorting the faith to make it acceptable to the world?