Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to given an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
1 Peter 3:15-18
This was the second reading at Mass yesterday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter. When I heard this reading, sitting in the pew at Mass, I thought to myself, “Could I do better when responding to others on the internet who criticize me for my faith, or for the positions I take that are informed by my faith?” The answer is a clear and strong “YES!”
There have been those moments of which I’m not proud, in which I failed to answer with gentleness and reverence. As such, people went away angry at me, and with a bad taste in their mouth for Catholics. Now, it may be that they would be angry, anyway. Lots of people out there are angry at Catholics and the Catholic Church because of what we believe, because of what the Church teaches. But, the point is, I don’t have to be the cause of any anger in anyone, at least not because of my failure to answer with gentleness and reverence. Sometimes, often actually, they’re going to be angry. There’s an angry spirit in this society, a culture of contempt that I plan on writing about further. But, I don’t need to be seen contributing to it. If others want to be angry at me for what I believe and for those positions I take that are informed by my faith, let it be so. But, let me not justify or give cause to their anger by failing to answer with gentleness and reverence.
So, here’s a commitment to do the best I can to answer with gentleness and reverence. Sometimes, even when answering with gentleness and reverence, we will suffer, as 1 Peter says. But, so did Christ suffer. We can unite our suffering with His, for the sake of our salvation.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.