Always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is within you. – 1st Peter 3:15
1st Peter 3:15 is one of my top ten Bible verses. It’s a reminder that every single one of us, by virtue of our Baptism as the Church teaches, is called to evangelize. Since we are all very different that evangelization will no doubt come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure; it’s a must do for every Catholic Christian. Along with the responsibility to evangelize comes the responsibility to evangelize lovingly.
Well, there is no time like the present. This week the United States Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling regarding so-called same-sex marriage. Whether the high court declares this the law of the land, or puts the matter back in the hands of the individual states, our roles will be the same. Either way as Catholics we will be challenged. Either way we will be called to witness, and as St. Peter reminds us in the rest of that beautiful verse, we will be called to witness with gentleness and reverence. Yes, gentleness and reverence. Not easy things to do in general when the discussion of faith or religion is brought up at the family barbecue or graduation party, but especially when it comes to the issue of same-sex attraction. If the ruling goes back to the state level, which is the most hopeful scenario for those who support marriage between one man and one woman, the Catholic Church and other Christian churches and organizations will be no doubt be attacked and wrongly blamed for among other things, taking the country “backwards and not forwards”, for promoting what many try to pass off as “hatefulness and bigotry”, you can fill in the blanks I am sure with a variety of harsh words and names to which you might have already been subjected. If God forbid, the justice’s rule in favor, Christians and other conservatives will basically be told in more ways than one that we have to not only accept the change but promote, endorse, and embrace it as well. In other words, either way it is not going to be pretty.
So how do we tread gently and reverently into the evangelization waters during this pivotal week in our nation’s, and given the influence of the United States, our world’s history? We don’t dive in alone and we don’t swim away from the Mothership as in the Church. We cling to her teachings. We follow the developments through solid sources several of which are posted at the end of this blog. We share the Good News of Christ’s plan for true joy for all of His children including those struggling with same-sex attraction. We talk about the beautiful witness of those involved in the Courage and Encourage ministries. And last, but certainly not least, we echo the loving words of Her chief Captain and Shepherd on earth; Pope Francis. Since Pope Francis is loved by many around the globe, this is another good place to start. Pope Francis discussed recently not only in his latest encyclical, Laudato Si, but also in several recent addresses at the Vatican:
“A man and a woman who love one another and decide to marry and start a family, have the exulted vocation of being similar to the triune God: loving one another in their differences and creating new life. Being parents is based on the diversity of being male and female, as the Bible reminds us. This is the first and most basic, constitutive difference in the human being.”
No doubt we are about to head into some very stormy seas in the next few days, weeks, months and even years. But as we heard in the Gospel message just this past Sunday; Jesus is with us during the storms. He calms the storms and allows us to sail on and give a defense for our hope.
Great Catholic resources to rely on for news, information and commentary on issues important to Christians this week and into the future:
- The National Catholic Register online
- Ave Maria Radio, the home of my show Catholic Connection and Kresta in the Afternoon – Listen online or listen later to the archive or podcast. Check out the AveMariaRadio App.
- Watch The World Over with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN.
- EWTN News online
- Watch EWTN News Nightly, 6pm ET, Even watch on YouTube
- The Catholic News Agency
- Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly