These are days of great opportunity for the Church. In many ways we are being called to witness to some of our most treasured and foundational principles. The whole idea of witnessing is something done publicly; and “publicly” is something with which we Catholics have become less comfortable over the recent years.
There was a time when you ordered a cheese sandwich in a restaurant on Friday everyone knew, or at least it was reasonable to suspect, you were a Catholic. Various cultural and social “clues” have fallen by the wayside over the years and we have become more and more homogenized with the rest of humanity. Our marriages, our choices of schools for our children, our thoughts and opinions about current events all seem to “blend in” with everyone else’s. Even some priests and sisters appear more often in “lay” clothes than in religious habits or clerical collars.
It’s almost indiscernible to discover one’s religious identity in today’s society. For the most part, I think that’s just fine with the majority of folks. Everybody’s trying to get along, not “make waves,” not “hurting anybody.” This kind of “social lobotomy” might just work were it not for the concerted efforts to make it happen by those whose job it is and whose goal it is to strip any vestige of religion out of our predictable and ordinary lives.
These are days of great opportunity for the Church. She, herself, is being called forth from her own comfort zone to come forth and become a little less secure in a world where she may have settled in a bit too snuggly. Witnessing to the truth is never easy. The Church knows this better than most – probably best of all – since she has been the champion of truth, human rights, and the dignity of each and every man and woman since her foundation on Golgotha hill outside Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.
Witnessing to the truth has cost the Church. She has paid with blood, the loss of prestige and influence, and social ostracism. She has triumphed through all these things and more – and the truth still shines as bright and beautiful as ever, undimmed and unaltered by human contrivance or interpretation.
These days call for Catholics to remember that distinguished heritage as we make our way through a new age of secular distortion and interpretation of Pilate’s provocative question: “What is truth?”
I sure hope to see you at Sunday Mass…