When I hear from some Catholics that it is boring to go to church, that faith is tasteless etc. I usually ask one question: “When did you share your faith in Christ with someone else last time.” Most of the time I get for the answer one’s surprised big eyes. Look, you will never enjoy Christianity, you will never discover beauty and power of faith, if you don’t share it, if you don’t pass it on. Keeping faith to yourself doesn’t make sense at all. Let me tell you something more: keeping faith to yourself kills faith very efficiently.
My Dear Friends! On this great solemnity of Epiphany I would like to invite you to pay attention not to the gifts the wise men had brought for Jesus but what their visit brought to Jerusalem. St Matthew tells us this: “King Herod was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem.” How did the wise men manage to stir up the Holy City of Jerusalem? When they arrived there they said: “Where is the infant king of the Jews?” Those men from the East were the first missionaries of Christ. Interesting men, they didn’t know where to go to in search for Christ but they knew whom they were looking for. The message they put across was this: “The promised Messiah, the king of the Jews is among you.” The faith which set them on such a long journey, they didn’t keep it private, on the contrary they made it very public when they made a statement before the King’s court.
Another thing I would like to draw your attention to. If you think that to share faith you would need to go to a pagan country reflect on the wise men story. They came to Jerusalem which was the most religious place on earth. The city was full of priests, Bible scholars, faithful Jews etc. It means that you can be a missionary, an evangelizer in your catholic family, in your catholic school, among catholic co-workers etc. and of course the most powerful faith sharing happens when you share your Christian faith with those who don’t love Christ yet.
To finish I would like to talk about the Hobbit. Please don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been paid to advertise the movie to you. Do you know that J.R.R.Tolkien, who wrote the story lived his life as a devout Catholic? He went to church nearly every day, but I describe him as a devout Catholic because he asked himself a very Catholic question: “How can I share my faith in Christ with those out there?” Because he was a writer he said: “I will write a story which is full of Christian message so that the people who would never read the Bible could get the message of the Bible into the minds and hearts.” The Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring aren’t science-fiction stories, they are Bible stories.
Among friends of J.R.R.Tolkien was C.S. Lewis who declared himself as an atheist. What came out of that friendship? C.S. Lewis became a Christian. J.R.R.Tolkien wasn’t extremely satisfied as C.S.Lewis joined the Church of England instead the Catholic Church but C.S.Lewis got Tolkien’s approach to faith. C.S.Lewis wrote Chronicles of Narnia to get Christian message across to those who don’t want to put their foot in a church. The Narnia stories are so saturated with Christianity that when the Belfast City Council in the Northern Ireland wanted to honour C.S.Lewis, who was born in Belfast, they were in a big dilemma. They wanted to make it a secular monument. They didn’t want to have a lion because the lion in Narnia stands for Christ so it is too religious. They didn’t want to have a witch because the witch in the Narnia stands for Devil so it is too religious too. Eventually they came up with a brilliant idea to have a statue of C.S.Lewis standing in front of the wardrobe. They thought it was safe. Silly them. They didn’t know that the wardrobe in the stories of Narnia stands for the Church. The Church which opens to us the new, divine world.
My Dear Friends! As you see the crowds of people queuing up to see the Hobbit these days I want to you to ask yourselves the question J.R.R.Tolkien asked himself before he wrote the story: “How can I share my Catholic Faith with others?”