Think back. When was the last time that the name of Jesus passed your lips? For comparison, do you speak about Jesus Christ less often than, say, Brett Favre, or President Obama? But isn’t Jesus Christ far more important than professional athletes or politicians? Our culture teaches us to keep our faith in Jesus unspoken and hidden, but this is a habit we need to unlearn. Our Christian faith is supposed to be personal, but it’s not supposed to be secret.
Today’s first reading comes from a letter from St. Paul to a young Christian named Timothy. Timothy grew up in a Christian family, but as we see in the Gospel, family ties are not what make a person close to Christ. What makes one close to Christ is the choice to do God’s will. Paul understood that Timothy’s youth might cause him to be too timid about expressing his faith in Jesus Christ. So Paul told Timothy, as I say to you, “stir into flame the gift of God that you have…. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord….”
Never deny or be ashamed of Jesus because of the people who happen to be around you. Often, people are more receptive about Christ than you might think, and witnessing to your faith can change lives. Besides, if the people you’re with would mock our savior then the opinion they have about you doesn’t matter much anyways. Still, they may well may mock you one day, and respect you for your convictions the next.
Don’t be too timid lead prayers out loud to Jesus. Nobody expects you to be a poet. Just speak simply from your heart and your words will have a powerful effect. Listening to another’s struggle can help, but sharing prayer to Christ with them can really heal.
Be unafraid to talk about Jesus. Everyone needs Him and what He has to teach us, even if we’ve been Christians all of our lives. John Paul the Great said that Jesus Christ reveals humanity to itself. Jesus provides the answer; to why we’re here, where we’re going, how we should live, and how we are loved. He is the most worthy of topics for conversation.
As our psalm says,
“Announce [Christ’s] salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
[and] among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.”
So be unashamed of Jesus no matter who happens to be around you. Lead prayers aloud to Jesus for the benefit of your neighbors. And be not afraid to let the name of Jesus past your lips.