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CONFESSING CHRIST BEFORE MEN
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 28th Week of the Year, October 20, 2012
Eph. 1:15-23, Ps. 8, Luke 12:8-12


"And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9).


It is important not only to believe in Jesus Christ in our heart, but also to confess him before men. We are not to be ashamed of him and have a purely personal faith, hidden from everyone else. A hidden faith is not sufficient, for as Christians we are called to be witnesses to Christ in the world (Acts 1:8) and to preach to all peoples repentance and forgiveness of sins through his death and resurrection. This is why Christ died on the cross as a criminal and rose from the dead-for the forgiveness of the sins of all who believe in him (Luke 24:46-48). In his death we are redeemed from our sins, for he took our part on the cross and suffered the curse of the law for our sins (Gal. 3:13). Therefore every Christian is called to be a missionary who publicly confesses his faith in Christ for the good of all who hear him. If we do this, he will reward us; but if we deny him before men, he will deny us before the angels of God. "If we deny him, he also will deny us" (2 Tim. 2:12).


There are some who have lost their sense of sin. They believe that God does not punish us for our sins, and that they can therefore do whatever they like without fear of being punished by God. They have so deadened their conscience by violating it so many times that it no longer accuses them, and so they feel safe, and thus they have come to the conclusion that God does not punish. But St. Paul teaches us that "if we deny him, he also will deny us" (2 Tim. 2:12). And Jesus teaches the same, "He who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:9).


It is therefore important that we do not deny Christ before men by our way of living and speaking, but that we rather give witness to him before men by living according to his will and by preaching salvation in Jesus Christ for the good of all who hear us.


We are not to deny or be ashamed of Christ before men. St. Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith" (Rom. 1:16). Although the Greek philosophers in Athens made fun of Paul's preaching (Acts 17:18), he was not ashamed of it and continued preaching to them about Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18). "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, ‘We will hear you again about this'" (Acts 17:32). We also should not be ashamed of the gospel, "for whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).


Even by our way of living we are to confess Christ before men and not deny him before them. Priests and religious do this, for example, by wearing a religious habit, a cassock, or clerical attire. They are not ashamed to dress this way wherever they go, and so they are a constant and important reminder to both themselves and all who see them of God and of a life consecrated to him. They also live a simple and detached life of evangelical poverty that is a witness to all who see them of a life which renounces the pleasures of the world (Gal. 6:14) and is dedicated solely to God with all their heart, without any division of heart among the pleasures of the world. They are not afraid or ashamed of confessing Christ before men by the way they live, which is very different from the secularized lifestyle of the world around them (John 17:14; 15:19; 1 John 2:15; James 4:4). They are careful not to just blend in with the culture around them and so deny Christ by the way they live.

 

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