1 Peter 4:14
As Catholics, we will all face this at one time or another:
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” -1 Peter 4:14, NAB
For those who do not understand us, those who do not know Jesus Christ, our faith is a joke to them. Even for some of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters from Protestant backgrounds, they do not understand the beauty and depth of our faith. Because of this, as Catholics, we will sometimes face ridicule for our faith.
The jokes come in a number of ways. Some find our practices, rituals, and beliefs to be joke-worthy. Some will make jokes about our old-fashioned Catholic values. Others target the sex abuse and other scandals for their jokes. No matter what we do, including all of the good we do for the world, outsiders can only see what they choose to see.
At one point in my life, I was the one making the jokes. I was the one who made jokes about Christianity and Catholicism. It seemed too easy. Catholics were so counter-cultural that it was easy to find material. Now, as I have matured in faith, I realize that it is the counter-cultural attitude of the Church that makes it so beautiful. When the rest of Christianity seems to cater to the ways of this world, the Catholic Church stands firm.
Now, as a faithful Catholic, instead of being the one dishing out the jokes, I am the one taking them. I have learned to accept it with a smile. Many of the things that people insult us for are actually the most beautiful aspects of our faith. I am proud to say that I adore Mary. I am proud to say that I look for help from the saints. I am proud to call Benedict “Papa.”
To the rest of the world, our faith may be a joke. They may never truly understand us, but eventually that day will come – that day when they realize the joke is on them. On that day, I pray the Lord has mercy on them, no matter how many jokes they once made.