2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Have you ever been in that uncomfortable and awkward situation where you’re in a group of pe and you’re the only Catholic there. The conversation turns to religion and someone from the group says, “Well Catholics are not Christian!”
You begin to feel your blood boil and maybe you at first you don’t know how to respond because you’re caught off guard or maybe you’re just angry and embarrassed with the question.
"Are Catholics Christians?"
To begin to answer that question we can turn to the gospel passage for today. We hear of John the Baptist's encounter with Jesus. John sees Jesus coming towards him and proclaims, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
This passage serves as a reminder that as Catholics we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world, who came to take away our sins. This is the foundation of our faith, the same faith that all Christians share in.
As a matter of fact if you take the time to read every prayer that we recite here at the mass and every prayer that we memorized since we were children, every document and letter that was written by a pope, every act of love and charity performed by a saint point to our shared belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the Savior of the world who came to take away our sins!
So, “Are Catholics Christians?”
The answer to this question, of course, is a resounding yes!
We, Catholics, are indeed Christians. Not only do we share a common faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior but we believe in the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus. We believe in the resurrection and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We also share with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in the belief of the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
But, it's also important to remember that being a Christian is not just about professing our faith in Jesus with our words; it's also about living out that faith in our actions. We, as Christians, are called to echo the cry of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God” and to follow the example of Jesus.
We “behold the Lamb of God” by: loving our neighbor as ourselves, serving the poor and marginalized, and proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel to all. As Jesus himself says in the Bible, a book that all Christians, especially Catholics, revere as the Word of God, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
In other words as Catholic Christians we express our faith in Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins in our words and our acts of love, charity and service to one another.
In a few moments we will hear those words from John the Baptist again when the Body and Blood of Christ are raised and I will say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
As we once again behold and receive Jesus in the Eucharist today, let us remember that through this sacrament, we are united with him in a profound and mystical way. The Eucharist brings us into deeper union with Jesus and with one another, reminding us that we are one body in Christ.
You can’t get more Christian than that, can we?
So, do not be discouraged by folks who question whether we are true Christians. Remember that you are a Christian, a Catholic Christian and, yes, you are saved!
Remember that love and mutual respect is key in any discussion. You may want to invite your non-Catholic friends and others to learn more about the Catholic faith by reading Catholic literature or invite them to come to a mass here with you.
Most importantly, continue to “behold the Lamb of God”, by keeping Jesus at the center of your life by serving others and living your life in a manner that brings glory to God.
Our faith in Jesus Christ and our actions that follow that belief is what make us Catholic…Christians!