Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sticks and Stones Build Churches

From the HHS Mandate to Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance, Catholics have a lot of reasons to be offended these days. I guess, even after 1982ish years of it, we still haven’t warmed up to being the community punch line. Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against us, but dang- it won’t be for lack of trying.
My twelve college roommates would attest to the fact that I’m pretty laid back, I have an overactive sense of humor, and it takes an awful lot to offend me. That changes, however, the moment you start talking about my Mama. Malicious comments or disrespectful jokes about Holy Mother Church just don’t tickle my funny bone. Too personal, you know?
If you’re an offended Catholic, be assured that I am right there with you. But please do me a favor: stop babbling about how these things would never fly if they were offensive to Muslims. Of course they wouldn’t—mocking someone’s religion is always out of bounds. Don’t waste another moment pointing to another kid on the playground and wondering why no one bullies him. Once you’ve gotten over that, bust out your Bible and catechism and make sure you know how to respond to people with bogus ideas about the Church and her teachings. We have their attention! Let’s use that!
In and through the Sacrament of Confirmation, you accepted as your own the mission of the Church and received the Sacramental grace to carry it out. That mission is basically this: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). You know the peace, joy, wonder, and awe that come from being in a relationship with Jesus. Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from revealing the beauty of Catholicism to others.
“Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17

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