So, a few take-aways from tonight’s discussion of the Joshua Movie…
- If people have weird ideas about what it means to be Catholic, our first reaction is often to scoff at them, argue with them, mock them… which often times proves them right. If people have weird ideas about Mass, Eucharist, the Blessed Mother, Saints or other things Catholic – then sometime, somewhere, someone helped them arrive at those skewed ideas. So instead of being condescending or angry or indignant, what we really should do is SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE!!! You want to change people’s misconceptions about your Church? Show them the real thing.
- Some Catholics have been/are jerks. It’s true. It’s sad. Sometimes those people happen to be priests, nuns, etc… It makes our lives more difficult. Sometimes movies/media/friends/kids at school like to use this fact to discredit what we believe. I’ve met a lot of teachers who weren’t nice, and some who weren’t terribly smart or well educated. I’ve met some police officers who weren’t nice and who didn’t always obey the law. And there are scientists who are jerks, and many of whom have been very, very mistaken. But we don’t completely discredit all teachers, police, or scientists and all that these people believe or stand for because of a few who don’t practice what they preach or who got it wrong!!! I have one thing to say about Catholics who are not joyful, loving, giving people: #youredoingitwrong. Doesn’t mean everyone gets a free pass from going to mass on Sunday. Doesn’t mean the whole Catholic church is one big furry, mean monster…
- What are the 2 really big hallmarks that set the early Christians apart, and also make us different from others around us?
- Jesus raised at least 3 people from the dead while he was doing His public ministry on Earth… Jairus’ daughter, a young man being carried to his burial, and Lazarus (this Sunday’s Gospel)… TRUE STORIES! Then, Jesus rose from the dead himself, also a true story. So we don’t fear death… which means we pretty much aren’t afraid of anything. If you believe your God and Savior holds absolute power over life and death, there isn’t a whole lot to be afraid of. And if you’re not afraid, then you can think clearly, and make good choices, because you can’t be swayed by fear. We can also fall back on this fact when we don’t know the answer to faith questions. In times when it’s easy to doubt the Church, the Scripture, or our Faith in Jesus, we simply remember that He rose from the dead, so even if we don’t have all the answers, we know they exist and we know He has them.
- Jesus loved others, enough to freely chose to die for them. Early Christians showed that kind of love and forgiveness, even to their persecutors. We can show that Love, too. Some people try and take cheap-shots at what we believe and what we do in Church by saying that “all we need to do is love” and all the external stuff is unnecessary. We know that going to Mass and Confession, participating in the life of the Church, is how we show love for God, and how He pours more of His Love into our hearts… so we can love others better. Loving others as God Loves them IS our obligation, it doesn’t release us from our obligations. In fact, it makes our obligations even MORE important, not less.
- Our Church isn’t a Democracy, or a republic, or like any structure currently at work in society. Pope’s don’t get to just change things and get their own way. Neither do Bishops or priests. No person or small group of people is forcing us to do things their way. There is no way to get a petition signed and change Church teaching. We believe in some things called continuity and tradition. Our beliefs, customs, liturgical practices, and even our rules have been passed down over 2,000 years. Some minor implications have changed over time, but the basic truths are the same. It’s hard for people who are used to “let’s take a vote” to understand that. We should treat them with respect and compassion.
- We have out work cut out for us when it comes to the impressions people have about us, who we are, what we believe, and why our Church is so different.
There’s more, but it’s late.