We must face the reality that for most of us, our societies are Post-Christian. As believers, we often find ourselves bumping heads with people who disagree with our faith. Naturally this can make us want to retreat into our Christians communities and hide from the world.
In all honesty, the challenge for us now is: to be Christ even more than before. Our world is broken and the loudest voices are often the angriest.
Think of an injured animal. It is aggressive and lashes out if you try to approach it but at the heart of the issue is its pain. Much of our world is like this now. The Church is called hypocritical, bigoted, hate-filled and many other things. For us, we need to admit where we have fallen short and failed to be Christ to the lost.
Not long after he was elected to lead the Catholic Church in 2013, Pope Francis preached about how Church leaders must be shepherds who smell like their sheep.
It is our duty now to step out of our comfort zones like the early disciples and go into the hard places to embrace those in need of the Gospel. Jesus said that it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.
When others meet us with hatred or anger, we must see past the emotion to the heart of the issue and that is where we plant seeds of love and compassion. Without losing sight of what is right in the eyes of God, we must remember that every person has been created in His image. Serve that person who expects anger and rejection, and give them compassion instead. Where there is fear, let us bring peace. When Jesus encountered people He did not yell their sinfulness at them but He encountered them in a way that convicted and transformed their lives.
There is a lot of fear and anger in our world. It is our responsibility and our mission to pray for the wounded and love those who persecute us. If we truly choose to live like Christ we cannot stay in the upper room, we have to go out and smell like the sheep.