In the gospel, there is a part where Christ gave a stinging rebuke of the leading Jews at that time. “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,” he said, “but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.” (cfr. Mt 23,1-12)
It’s Christ’s call for us to practice sincerity and consistency in our life, avoiding even the slightest trace of hypocrisy and double life. In fact, we should develop what is called as unity of life, rooted on our earnest effort to identify ourselves with Christ who is the pattern of our humanity, the savior of our damaged humanity.
We have to understand that only with Christ can we aspire to have unity and consistency in our life, one that is not rigid. Rather it is a consistency and unity that knows how to adapt itself properly given the different and changing conditions and circumstances of our life.
So, we really have to earnestly pursue the effort of living and defending our Christian identity all the time. We should not be afraid to show our Christian identity at all times and in all situations. We should not be Christian by name only, but also by our thoughts, desires and deeds, and in all aspects of our life. We should not be Christian in good times only, but also, and most especially, in bad times. We should not be Christian only in our sacred moments, but also in our mundane activities.
This does not mean that we have to flaunt our Christian identity or to exude some kind of a triumphalistic aura. In fact, we have to be most natural and discreet about it. But it should not be hidden because of fear or shame.
Remember Christ saying: “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” (Mt 10,32-33)
That Christ is the Son of God who became man to redeem us means that God in Christ through the Holy Spirit identifies himself with each one of us at all times. This is the basis for keeping a consistency in our Christian identity.
This is what our Catechism teaches us clearly: “Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. ‘By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.” (Catechism 521)
We have to understand that everything in our life can only have its proper meaning and purpose when referred to Christ. Our mundane activities and concerns can only acquire their ultimate meaning and divine value when related to Christ. Even our weaknesses, errors, failures and sins can only be taken care of properly when referred to Christ.
We need to spread this truth of our faith, so crucial in our life, as widely as possible. Let’s listen to St. Paul in this regard: “Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction. For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires.” (2 Tim 4,2-3)*