Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ephesians 1:15-16

Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers (Ephesians 1: 15-16)

A friend recently sent me a note about his experience at a local health care clinic. A woman entered the clinic and asked her physician for a prescription for “morning after” medication. The physician refused, stating he was opposed to providing medication designed to produce an abortion. After the patient left, my friend stated how pleased he was that the physician sent her away. “I’m a Catholic,” my friend said.

The doctor glanced at him and then scoffed, “Oh, like Pelosi and Sebelius?”

For those who do not understand the reference, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius both claim to be Catholics . . . . and both are openly and shamelessly pro-abortion.

In his play, Othello, Shakespeare puts into Iago’s mouth these words: “[He] who steals my purse steals trash . . . But he that filches (steals) from me my good name . . . makes me poor indeed.”

Reputations are important in business, in friendships, in families. But when related to our claim of being a Christian, reputations can have eternal consequences -- for others, and for ourselves. It is the wise man and woman who takes the Psalmist’s words to heart.

St. Paul told the church at Ephesus their reputation preceded them. And their reputation was a good one. Thus, we would do well to ask ourselves two questions based on this passage of Scripture. First, who has heard of our faith? And second, what do they say about our faith?

Do people even know I am a Christian? Do I keep my faith in Christ a secret, never thanking God for my food when I eat in a restaurant or the break-room on the job? Have I ever shared with others the Church’s teaching about issues related to morality and faith? Do I act any differently from non-believers in the kinds of jokes I laugh at – or tell? Am I different from them in where I find entertainment or how I spend my Sundays? Do I know more about sports statistics than I do about the bible? Can I quote pop culture icons, but know nearly nothing of St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Padre Pio, St. Maximilian Kolbe, or virtually any other of our Catholic saints?

What might people say of our faith – of yours and mine? St. John wrote, “Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). In other words, the apostle admonished us, “Don’t say you follow Christ if you don’t do as Christ did.” Otherwise, we give scandal to the Church and to Christ – as do politicians and others who claim one thing, but live as if God is not watching and listening – and keeping an account.

Living as a faithful Catholic is not easy.

I should repeat that for emphasis.

Living as a faithful Catholic is not easy. It requires submitting ourselves daily to God’s commandments. It requires carrying His cross, denying ourselves and, yes, dying to ourselves.

It is not easy. But it is, nonetheless, the way of Christ,

Questions for Reflection:

1. How might making this prayer your own help your reputation?

2. How might making this prayer your own help your reputation?

3. Listen to this song. What questions come to your mind?


Patty said...

Living as a faithful CHRISTIAN is not easy, whether Protestant or Catholic. It takes constant vigilance to live true to God's Word, to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and to love each other as He loves us.

Richard Maffeo said...

I like your comment about constant vigilance. I agree.