I’m often surprised by the way some people seem to think that God doesn’t put much thought into the details. Almost as if things accidentally fell into place and He just hopes for the best.
He deserves a lot more credit than that – God is omnipotent and He has no limits.
We are living today for a reason. God had a choice, and He created our souls for this age and not in any other time period. We have to engage the culture around us. If we don’t, how can we relate the message of the Gospel in a way that effectively communicates with them? We can’t speak telegraph when the world speaks mobile phones.
I know many Christians that would much rather throw out the TV, lock up the computer, and never consume secular media. While I enjoy reading theology and going to church as much as the next Catholic, we’ll never be helping anyone that is different from us if we are not willing to meet them where they live.
Even during some scary times for Christians, the missionary mindset pushed many in the early church to brave the sometimes life threatening culture around them. The Apostles preached of faith, hope, and love to a world wrapped up in darkness and selfishness.
Sure, sometimes praying outside an abortion clinic with Austin Coalition for Life can sometimes feel life-threatening, but most of our evangelization today isn’t quite as scary in this country. Saints Peter and Paul were bold enough to take the Gospel to the belly of the beast against them in Rome. We are forever grateful for the bold risks they took.
I’m sure St. Peter had dreams of returning to quiet days on a boat instead of taking the long journey towards the eternal city across the sea. Still, there was an entire empire caught up in infamous decadence that desperately needed the salvation of Christ.
Christians cannot be a people of fear. We are not called to live an Amish lifestyle that seeks to avoid encountering any challenge. There are plenty of valid reasons to want to avoid the world around us, but hiding from the world around us is selfish. We cannot keep Christ to ourselves.
The time has come for the church of today to take our mission seriously within the culture. If we surrender to the church of Hollywood and the masses, then our culture has lost hope. As tempting as it sounds to give up, we have to read the signs of the times and engage.
Fr Robert Baron is a great example of how we can do this effectively. He is often criticized for reviewing movies with questionable content. He often points to the Bible and how it too contains “questionable content.” The difference is in how we engage it. Fr Baron often uses the movies to point out great flaws in the thinking of contemporary culture, and then points to solution – Jesus.
This is an issue requires tact and discernment. By relating to the culture, we can create segways for deeper conversations about the issues that really matter in life. Sometimes we have to fight the preconceived objections to Truth that people have formed in their minds by simply presenting it in a new way.
Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves.
On this week after World Mission Sunday, we pray for all our missionaries. We also pray for the rest of the Church to always remember its missionary vocation from baptism.