We Represent Christ and Our Catholic Faith in Public

Businessman talking on cell phoneThe month of June is almost upon us and the weather is just beautiful right now in many parts of the United States.Other countries in the northern hemisphere are surely enjoying this beautiful early summer weather too. The air is soft and fresh and the sunshine feels wonderful. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. The world has come alive again and every green growing thing looks so fresh and vibrant, especially the flowers that are blooming in abundance right now.

The first reading for mass fits perfectly with the beautiful weather many of us are enjoying today. The entire reading praises God for all the beautiful things he created and this verse is especially fitting. “The sun looks down on everything with its light, and the work of the Lord is full of his glory”. The world reflects this scripture verse today with all the new flowers and plants that are blooming and growing. All of nature seems happy. That is why so many engaged couples choose to be married in June because of the almost perfect weather. The scripture verses from the first reading reflect this as well “all things come in pairs, one opposite the other.” And that “each supplements the virtues of the other.”

The last verse in the first reading today says “Who could ever tire of seeing his glory?” And that is exactly what made the blind man in the Gospel today so unhappy. He sat by the side of the road begging every day and probably felt the warm sun, gentle breezes, smells and sounds and couldn’t see any of it.  He probably felt more than a little left out of the life of the community that he lived in.

The USCCB Gospel reading for mass today says that after Jesus asked the blind man what he wanted him to do for him, the blind man said “Master, I want to see. “But the translation that is used on this website says that he responded “My teacher, let me see again”. That’s quite a difference in wording.  It changes the meaning altogether because these words seem to indicate that the blind man had been listening to Jesus speak to the people.  The blind man learned a lot from Jesus and came to believe in him by listening to his words. It also indicates that at one point the blind man had been able to see but lost his sight.  The translation of the Catholic bible used on this website though, is the same translation used in the Catechism of the Catholic church and is known for it’s accuracy. For the blind man to call the Lord “my teacher” shows that he had become a believer and may have wanted to actually see the man he had listened to so often.  The blind man once had his sight though and because he knew what it was like to see, he probably missed the ability to see even more acutely.

The people around the beggar kept telling him to be quiet, but he cried out even louder. He would not be silenced. The Lord probably knew this man had been listening to him talk and had come to believe in him and he would have known the suffering this man went through because of his blindness. A little noise or disruption from him wasn’t what mattered, his new found faith is what mattered. Christ healed him because of his faith “Go, your faith has made you well.”

This is something we really need to be more aware of as well. The blind beggar sat on the side of the road on the fringes of society and very few people probably paid him any attention. He may have been like some of our homeless people are today. We walk past them and talk in front of them almost as if they were not there either. We do the same thing with little children or the clerk at the grocery store or while chatting on the cell phone in public. We forget to be aware of who may be listening to us. Perhaps we should pay more attention to what we say and how we act in public places, because people are watching us and listening to our words even if we are not even aware of who is around us. Strangers notice if you treat someone disrespectfully, say uncharitable things or tell a white lie.  If they know you are a Catholic or if they visibly see anything that indicates you are, such as a medal or cross on your key chain, then you will portray a negative reflection about our Catholic faith.

The opposite is true too though. If you have a rosary on your car’s rear view mirror and someone sees your patience in letting them go ahead of you in traffic, that is also a very small but positive impression others will have of our Catholic faith.

Today, let us remember that we represent Christ and our Catholic faith wherever we go today. It isn’t just the clergy that represent our faith to the general public, but we represent the Catholic church as well, by our every day words and actions. We should be a little more aware that we are witnessing to our Catholic faith in public, by how we talk in front of strangers like the blind man sitting by the side of the road in today’s gospel.

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