Have we become ashamed of Christ? by Fr. Gabriel Wissa

June 1, 2022

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.

I have recently seen a growing trend in Christian youth today who tend to shy away from proclaiming their faith in Christ. From proclaiming what they truly believe in, specially when it comes to certain political and emotionally charged topics that society has currently normalized—like abortion or how to lovingly and properly deal with LGBTQ cases and so on. Often we hide behind the idea that everyone is free to choose and; therefore, why should I intervene? It is true that everyone is free to choose; however, the reality is that we have the crucial responsibility to express the truth of Christ in the midst of this darkness. We have been given the mandate to enlighten the world, not because we are more intelligent but because Christ is the True Light. He was incarnate and taught us how to live and gave us the real meaning of life. And He put us in this world as little christs if you will. The real reason we often choose not to speak is simply lack of courage. We could try to sugar coat it as much as we want with the idea of personal freedom of the other but deep down inside we know that it is our lack of unity with God or a lack of knowledge that we choose not to acquire or a lack of courage that keep us from sharing the light. And all three fall short of Christ. All three reasons do miss the mark. So the question begs itself: have we become ashamed of Christ? Has the wave of evil become so high that we are buckling under the pressure and therefore keep silent? Others may use the excuse that we do not want to cause trouble and that’s why we avoid confrontations. Well, I agree that every conversation should be dealt with wisely and that some should be avoided altogether. However, others ought to be tackled full throttle. There are so many verses and concepts that I could refer to, whether biblically or theologically, to address this point but I believe the better example of how we ought to tackle this matter is shown in the story of the man born blind.

The miracle starts with Christ proclaiming that as long as He is in the world, He is the Light of the world and He must do the works of His Father. He doesn’t wait for someone to ask Him to heal the man born blind but He is proactive and brings about healing. He doesn’t hesitate. Christ also tells us that we, His children, are the light of the world. We reflect Him. We, as Christians, make Him present in this world. And the greatest the darkness, the greatest the need for His Presence to be felt. I also must do the works of God. St. Paul tells us: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Notice as well how Christ in this miracle, and others, chose to bring about healing on the Sabbath. Did Christ not know that the Pharisees would be upset. Oh, He knew! It was on purpose. He wanted to soften their hearts of stone. So He did not shy away from facing them after the miracles. He challenged them face to face out of his love for them and us. Christ did not allow this hardness of heart to spread. We also should not allow this darkness to spread as we remain passive. It is not God’s will. Darkness is now knocking at our church doors as we are seeing many of these ideas infiltrating the minds of some youth. Being passive is no longer an option. We ought to pick up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Christ—even if it means it will lead to our own crucifixion. Christ never bowed down to the sins of the people but always redirected them towards repentance.

Similarly, the man born blind refused to bow down as well. This man was faced with the reality of being put out of the synagogue. This didn’t mean to be put out of a building but to be an outcast. He would not be part of the Jewish social life anymore. That is why his parents cowered while being questioned by the Pharisees saying “he is of age ask him”. But he didn’t cower. He stood strong. As the Pharisees tried to deny that Christ did in fact perform the miracle accusing Christ to be a sinner, he give glory to God. His response was how can God listen to sinners. This Man must be from God! He responded with boldness. He wasn’t shaken, but stood for the obvious truth. As a consequence, he was cast out of society. But, this is when He met Christ and worshipped Him. He also met Christ face to face! But unlike the Pharisees, he enjoyed the Presence of Christ. And this is when Christ drives the point home, He says: “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” I pray that some of us too stop pretending that we see so our sins may be forgiven. So our minds be enlightened with the Truth and not to be overtaken by the poison of pride. This same poison of pride was clear in the Pharisees’ attitude when they told the man born blind “you were completely born in sin and you are teaching us?” Pride had overtaken them to such an extent that they couldn’t see anymore. Darkness took over as a result of pride. They claimed to see; yet, they were utterly blind. They couldn’t perceive the simplest of truths. Yet, because of the courage of Christ who is the Light and because of the courage of the man born blind who shared the light of Christ, many that day witnessed the glory of Christ and some undoubtedly believed! All of us will face Christ one day. We, therefore, hope that we face Him in the same way the man born blind did.

#CopticOrthodoxAnswers #COA

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