Question: “Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear it said that religion is something personal, that those who believe should keep it to themselves, that it is something private. That we must not embarrass people… that we should hide our beliefs… not reveal our belief in Christ to others. I would like to hear your comments on that.
Answer: Yes as you say it is something you will often hear nowadays. And we agree that our faith is personal but it can never be private. Of its very nature it reaches out to others. A sincere belief in God will flow out of the heart of the believer into every sphere of his or her life. And so any committed and sincere Christian necessarily influences society and culture.
In St Paul’s letter to the Romans he says ‘the life and death of each one of us has its influence on others.’ Of its nature it is not private and lest we have any doubts about practising our faith openly Jesus calls on us his followers to be his witnesses.
Jesus makes it clear that the Church does not exist for its own sake. It has a mission, a purpose. It must not let the world forget Jesus Christ. It must continue to make Him known and to proclaim His teachings everywhere until time is no more. He calls on each one of us who make up the Church to live our faith, ‘to make disciples of all the nations.’ Not to be afraid to show others by our beliefs and lifestyle that we are His followers. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, wrote: ‘No one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.’
We need to be like the Christian who lived simply among nonbelievers. Later, when a missionary arrived and started preaching Christ, the people said, ‘Oh we knew him; he lived in that house on the hill.’ It is clear that the man on the hill preached his profound belief in Christ by the way he lived his life. We might ask ourselves this question – would those who know us be able to say the same about us?”
– From: Saint Martin Magazine, for subscriptions please visit http://www.st martin.ie (external link)