As Catholics, do we think that we are better than everyone else?
From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. -Mark 7:24-30, NAB
Again, today’s discussion may not be one that will help me win any Catholic popularity contests, but the truth needs to be told.
Today’s verse shows a fundamental shift in Jesus’ ministry. As a Jew, the chosen people of God, Jesus was ministering to other Jews. When a non-Jew came to Him seeking healing for her daughter, Christ’s first response was to turn her away, but, when He saw the depth of her faith, He drove the demon out of her daughter.
From this story, we learn that Christianity would not be a faith held solely by the Jewish people. The Messiah did not come to save the Jews alone, but all of mankind. Similarly, as Catholics, we need to recognize that we need to be accepting of our Christian brothers and sisters. We may practice our faith in different ways, but we share a common love of Christ. Christ came for them too.
There are some Catholics that consider themselves better than other Christians. This is called Catholic Elitism (elite-ism). Now, do not get me wrong; I converted to the Catholic faith for a reason – I believe the Catholic Church is the original Church that began with Peter and was passed down through Apostolic succession. However, I do not believe that my Catholic faith gives me the right to slander other Christians. I just won’t do it (although, I never pass up a joke in good fun).
Personally, I can think of one person I know that constantly badgers his Protestant friends. He spends every moment with them trying to convert them to Catholicism. He beats them over the head with Scripture and ridicules their Protestant faith. Somehow, they haven’t decided to convert yet (sarcasm). Instead of reaching out in love to fellow Christians, he convicts them for their differences. We will never be “one Church” if we continue to act like that.
It’s a shame that we do not share the same love for the Eucharist. It’s a shame that they misunderstand us. It’s a shame that the Protestant church left in the first place. Yet, despite our differences, I believe we can still love one another. Let’s reach out to our Christian brothers and sisters in love, and maybe, one day, we can bring them home, but if we don’t, at least we can share our love of Christ. It’s a first step, and it’s all we can do. From there, let God handle the rest.