Am I Ashamed of Christ?

Acknowledgment is a common courteous behavior parents teach their children in their earliest years. Parents want their sons and daughters to acknowledge a person’s presence as well as gifts they have received. Acknowledgement is a way of saying that the person matters.

In the beginning of today’s Gospel, Jesus is very clear about this basic expectation. Just as you would teach a child, He teaches us.

Stop for a few minutes and consider: Do I acknowledge Jesus before others? What does this look like?

It means not skipping the prayer before meals even when in a fancy restaurant or in the company of colleagues or acquaintances. It means when asked by a coworker about weekend plans, that you mention Mass and prayer as part of your response. It means seeking opportunities to talk about your relationship with Christ with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors alike.

A variety of obstacles often hinder us from this open sharing about Jesus. We worry if we will come off as religious fanatics or if we will be misunderstood.

Why Do I Do the Things I Do?

Ask yourself the following 3 questions and be sure you answer each specifically before moving on to the next question:

● What is it that makes me ashamed or embarrassed to speak openly about my relationship with Christ?

● If my spouse or close friend downplayed or even hid their relationship with me before others, how would I feel?

● Why do I so often care more about what others think than what God thinks?

Talk to Christ about your answers. The answers to these questions reveal something about our hearts, and it is a beneficial, even if painful exercise, to come clean before God and acknowledge our sinfulness. Brothers and sisters, we must take stock of our hearts and change our behavior immediately. But how do we begin to change this kind of betrayal of our love for Christ? This is where the Holy Spirit steps in.

Sin Against the Holy Spirit

It is time to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and set them ablaze with love. When one is deeply in love, nothing matters but the beloved. No action is too troublesome, silly, or embarrassing! Love knows no bounds or limits – just look at the Cross!

Which brings us to the question that always resurfaces in this gospel passage – what is this sin, this blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, which is not forgiven? We had better know so that we can be sure to avoid it! From the numerous meditations we may have read, or homilies we may have heard, there seems to be the consensus, which is clearly outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven me, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

A Repentant Heart

So how do we ensure that we never commit that sin, that grotesque refusal of His mercy and forgiveness? A repentant heart! We must acknowledge our sinfulness in light of Christ’s gaze from the Cross.

Stand, kneel, or sit beneath the Cross and look UP into His eyes. Ask the Holy Spirit to invade your heart and to show you the truth about yourself – both your faults and failings as well as your identity as His son or daughter. Here is where your value comes from – from whom God created you to be! Looking at your sins in the gaze of Christ is never a cause for despair. Instead, it has the power to fill you with gratitude for the great sacrifice He made for your good, for your freedom, for your eternity with Him.

Let us pray…

Oh Extravagant Love, how You love me just as I am! I repent of the many ways I fail to love You. Be merciful to me. Let me daily seek You and acknowledge You. Open my heart to receive Your love and love You in return. Let me never be ashamed of You! O Holy Spirit, come into my heart. Breathe in me. In every encounter, give me the words to testify to truth, to life, and to love. Amen, my Love, Amen!

[Readings: Rom4:13,16-18; Lk 12:8-12]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

1 Comment

  1. JOHNBOSCO OBIAKO on October 16, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Thank you Celina for this wonderful reflection. We pray for the grace to not be found wanting in acknowledging Jesus and the Church everywhere we find ourselves.
    Grace and peace to you.

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