A Different Kind of Witness
The Prevelance of Prejudice
I can be almost certain in saying that we all make assumptions and in essence, make judgement on others. Whether racial stereotypes, gender bias, or whichever form of sweeping generalizations we make, we are judging large groups of people based off of what we’ve witnessed from one person. It only takes one Judas to mess it up for the rest of Apostles. And although Jesus does challenge us to do away with this practice of prejudice, I find a unique opportunity in taking advantage of prejudice and flipping it around for the positive.
Let’s take the Church for example. With over 65 million Catholics in the United States, it’s safe to say that we are a pretty large group of people. Now, as we’ve seen that tragic events like the sex abuse scandal in recent years, have poisoned our society’s perception of the Church. Even though the percentage of priests involved in such behavior was miniscule, nevertheless it has drastically effected the Church as a whole. Every single priest has practically been labeled a pedophile. This is unfortunate.
Now let’s take a more personal example. We have all met at least one hypocrite, and we know them well. Even Jesus dealt with them. As Christians we are held to higher standards than others. We are compared to the saints like Mother Teresa and even Christ himself. This is what keeps us honest, but unfortunately, there are many who are not taking their faith seriously, and continue to call themselves Catholics. These hypocrites make the rest of us look bad. Their example pollutes the public’s idea of what all Catholics are like.
Giving the Church a Good Name
This past Sunday we celebrated the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord.
“A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.”
John was a witness to Jesus. His testimony, his goal and purpose in life was to lead others to Christ. The bold example of poverty and preaching that he gave was one that attracted many to the waters of repentance. He set a good example for people of faith. We too must boldly live out our Christian faith in a way that gives witness to Jesus.
People should be able to know that we are Catholics, not by the mistakes we’ve made, but by the radical, counter-cultural way we live our lives and the authentic Christian witness we provide to our starved society. Instead of giving Catholics a bad name, we should be challenging each other to live up to what we claim to be. The prejudice that others have of us as Catholics would change from a negative one to a positive one. If we were to do this we would awaken the Church, which like a volcano has laid dormant for too long finally erupting and pouring out enumerable blessings onto the world. Can you imagine the effect that we would have on our society? This is the kind of witness we are called to give. Try it. I dare you!Related Topics: