There’s a saying: “Be careful how you live; you may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” While I understand the point of this saying, I would take it a step further. My hope is that I can live in such a way that people will want to read the Bible, particularly the Gospels.
This Sunday’s readings can be summarized in two words: called and sent. St. Paul tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy. Every Christian is called to holiness. In the Gospel, Jesus calls the Twelve Apostles and sends them to proclaim the Kingdom. Just as Christ called the Apostles to a life of holiness and sent them to proclaim his Truth, Jesus entrusts us with the same mission: we are all called to holiness and sent to make Christ known to the world.
Jesus places a tremendous responsibility upon us. He’s counting on us to be holy and to lead others to him. Therefore, we do need be careful how we live; for you and I should live in such a way that people want to know Jesus. In fact, you and I might be the way a particular person is presented with the opportunity to know Jesus Christ. In this sense there is some truth to the saying that you and I may be the only Bible a person ever reads.
These Sunday readings, then, lead us to ask a question: Is there a unity to my life? In other words, the only way we can make Christ known is by living Christian holiness, and if I’m not living the Christian life when I leave Mass, then there is disunity in my life. Unity of life means that Sunday Mass is not simply another thing that I check off my list of things to do during the week; on the contrary, unity of life means that the Mass and my Catholic Faith permeate and inform every aspect of my life.
You’ve probably heard criticism leveled against certain churchgoers. People will say, “I can’t believe he goes to church. He’s a fake and a hypocrite. You should see the way he treats people once he leaves here.” We must be careful not to judge others. Instead of making this criticism about someone, we should stop and ask ourselves if it could be made of us. Each of us falls short of the mark; but there does need to be a unity to my life. We can’t live one way in church on Sunday and a completely other way during the week. There has to be a consistency of holiness. So, let’s commit to live in such a way that people want to know Jesus because of our example.