Summary: Could we be convicted of being a Christians by our daily words and actions.
There are two passages I would ask you to consider from today’s Gospel. The first: “If anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, the Son of Man will declare himself for him in the presence of God’s angels.”
We can and do make definitive statements or declarations for different reasons. We may want to publicly state something, perhaps for the first time, which was previously not known. We may wish to put something on record in front of witnesses, as we do when we make marriage vows before our family and friends. Sometimes we make a declaration because we are required to do so by law. Today’s Gospel story gives us yet another reason for making a declaration, and that is in response to an accusation.
Jesus’ words suggest that those who are his disciples may have to face charges of belonging to him. Given that the first disciples had been seen in his company on a regular basis, the authorities would have had plenty of evidence to convict them. This leads us to ask if there would be sufficient evidence to convict us of being Christians.
Going to Mass on a regular basis, sending the children to religious education and taking part in parish activities would probably provide the circumstantial evidence, but what other evidence could be brought to secure a conviction? Could we be accused of being honest in our public and private dealings? What about how we behave towards those who put us on trial – relatives, neighbors, or co-workers for example? Do our actions and words reflect our belief that all human life is sacred and to be cherished? In short, do we have the courage to stand up and be counted as Christ’s disciples, so possibly jeopardizing our credibility in the eyes of our friends and colleagues?
I know for myself personally, I have been in uncomfortable situations and at times have felt that I did not stand up for either the Faith or moral teaching the way that Jesus would have wanted me to. This is the challenge we face each time we are confronted with these situations. These are the times when we need to say: “Lord, you died that we might have everlasting life. Grant us the courage to declare our relationship to you, especially when we are afraid of the consequences.”
The second passage, “but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” I have always struggle with this passage and with that part of our Catholic Tradition that says we can actually commit a sin that is unforgivable. It goes against what we are told about the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the commentaries I read on this passage states: “Jesus understands and excuses the weakness of a person who makes a moral mistake, but he is not similarly indulgent to someone who shuts his eyes and his heart to the wonderful things the spirit does … it is the way unbelieving people act who refuse to see in Christ’s work as a sign of the goodness of God, who reject the invitation God offers them and who thereby put themselves outside the reach of salvation.
Knowing this, our responsibility as Christian witnesses becomes even greater to those who challenge our faith and our morals. God is giving us the opportunity, that we might play some small part as His instruments to bring them to Jesus Christ that they to may receive the gift of salvation that was won for all mankind.