Why do we need to publicly witness to our faith? Isn’t religion a private thing?
In the Acts of the Apostles, no the Acts of the Apostles, that’s better…
Peter and John are led before the Sanhedrin and ordered not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. They replied, “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard. St. John Vianney said that, “When you love something, you will desire that everyone else love it too.” Now, personally, I love baseball. One time I had the privilege of taking an English priest to his first baseball game ever. I was in my element explaining baseball to him, indoctrinating him in one of my greatest loves. Baseball was just oozing out of my pores. That’s how it should be with the faith. It should just radiate out of us.
If you can keep it private, it’s not the faith. The apostles couldn’t keep it private if they wanted to. Of course we don’t all witness in the same way. So I have a friend who is a very quiet and gentle person. And some years ago, the company that he works with hired a man who was the complete opposite: he was very mean and he was a big person. He was an intimidating person. Well, most people were intimidated. My friend carried himself the way he always does, eventually this other man asked him, “Do you pray?” “Yes, I do.” Some time went by and the man asked, “Do you go to Church?” “Yes, I do.” “Can I come with you?” “Yes, you can.” This big mean man started going to church, had a conversion, and eventually confided in my friend, “I just sensed a peace about you. Something was different about you.” My friend wasn’t on the street corner with a bull horn. He was just doing his job– but radiating the peace of Christ, he couldn’t contain the Lord.
Pope Francis likes to say how people act like they don’t have bellybuttons. It’s his way of making the point, we all came from somewhere. None of us got here on our own. Well, it’s the same thing with the faith. We all learned about the faith from someone else. Do people learn about the faith from you? I guarantee you they do. The real question is: what do people learn about the faith from you? “Yikes, these Christians are jerks.” Or, “Wow, I’ve got to know more about this Jesus.”