by Joannie Watson | August 23, 2019 12:04 am
“In the end, a life that radiates His truth, His love, and His glory is going to do far more to spread the kingdom than an argument on Twitter.”
A friend emailed me recently, after finding out that his friend had left the Church. I look forward to his emails – they’re strikingly perceptive and usually make me either laugh out loud or ponder a deep truth. (Occasionally, both at the same time.) He lamented that his friend had left the Church while he was looking for Jesus. From the muddiness of social media and various fires and dramas, this line brought me back to reality: “We get caught in liturgy wars, papal personality, political issues. We forget what’s important.”
I had a similar experience in high school. A good friend of mine left the Church and became very active in a non-denominational church. He became passionate about Jesus Christ – far more passionate than any of our classmates. When I finally had the courage to ask him about it (it wasn’t something my 16-year-old self did easily), I already knew what he would say. He had been looking for people actively living the Christian life. Our Catholic high school classmates were not. So he went elsewhere.
I still think about Greg and pray for him. I don’t know where he is now, but I hope that he continued searching. Maybe he found Catholics who are better representatives of Christianity.
It should be a reminder for all of us. What is important? We can get so lost in social media arguments, petty disagreements, or even significant issues that are ultimately of this world and not the next, we forget what is truly important. It’s not that we shouldn’t have discussion about politics. I’m not saying that nuances of Church teaching aren’t worth arguing over. Heavens, the Church has always disputed and hashed out theology – since the beginning.
But we must do all things in charity. And we must keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. In the end, a life that radiates His truth, His love, and His glory is going to do far more to spread the kingdom than an argument on Twitter.
I made the mistake of going down a social media rabbit hole this week, and I was horrified with how Catholics can treat each other. Have we forgotten the call to charity? He told us Himself: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Maybe it’s no surprise that the world doesn’t accept Him. We can be pretty lousy advertisements for the Christian life.
What would He say about how I spoke about those with whom I disagreed? Would anyone know I was His disciple based on how I lived– online and in real life? If the people around me don’t believe in Jesus, is it because they’ve never seen the difference He’s made in my life? Do I radiate the love of Christ?
We get caught in so many bickering battles. We get distracted and focus on side shows. This is what is important:
God is Love. We rejected that love, and so God became man to save us from our sins. He wants us to participate in that saving activity through the Church.
The readings this Sunday remind us that the Gospel message has a huge scope. God wants to save every single person… from “the distant coastlands… all [our] brothers and sisters from all the nations.” Our great desire is that we will show up in Heaven and everyone will be there – “from the east and the west and from the north and the south.” If that’s the case, we have a high calling. We must live as His disciples, bearing witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s what’s important.
Let’s start living like we know Him and want to others to know Him, too.
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