There are always people in our periphery view. They’re the ones with whom we may hardly exchange a, “Hello.” They’re the ones who move in and out of our everyday lives, and we hardly give them a thought. These very people have surprised me over the last few years.
- ‘Mary,’ shared some classes with me in college. She was vocal about preferring science over religion, and about her love of animals. Years later, she sent me a Facebook message; her beloved pet had died. She vulnerably asked what my Catholic faith said about animals; “Do they go to Heaven?”
- ‘Arthur,’ similarly shared classes with me in college. He was not into God. Several months ago, he sent me a message asking, “What’s the difference between a sister and a nun?”
- ‘Sarah’ had been part of the popular crowd in high school. A few days ago, she sent me a message with questions like, “How could God let bad things happen?” and “How can you be so strong in your faith?” Sarah was raised in a religious home, but has never believed in God. Now, she seems to be searching.
My point is this: You never know who’s watching. I cannot recall ever having had a single conversation with any of these three people.
In his April 14 homily, Pope Francis said:
In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. […] Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God!
I’m not a Catholic apologist, or Church history expert, etc. But I know that Mary, Arthur and Sarah found me approachable. They observed my words and actions, and they wanted to hear from me…but I never would have guessed it! You, too, have people who silently observe your words and actions. As Christians, we have to ask ourselves: Am I truly living my faith? This is key because, in Pope Francis’ words,
Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility. But [consistent witness] is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is he who has called us, he who has invited us to travel his path, he who has chosen us. […] This is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as “the Lord”, and to worship him.
Take up this challenge — Jesus has called you by name. Are you willing to answer Him in each action you take? Live that “intense relationship with Jesus” in prayer, in Scripture, in the Sacraments, in the Church. From these sources, you will grow in your Christian and Catholic witness. Jesus needs each one of us to witness truthfully to who He is.