The Church has just celebrated the feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Magi, the wise men from the East. This holy feast reminds us that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, not to save one nation or for one period of time, but to save all peoples of all nations and of all times. Yet the vast majority of humanity still does not know Christ. There are seven billion people on planet earth, and around 1.7 billion of them are Christians, that is, have received Christian baptism. That means that around 5.3 billion people do not know Jesus Christ at all. And of the 1.7 billion who are Christians – how many of them are really living a Christian life, a life centered on Christ Jesus our Savior?
The reality is that most people in the world today, and even in our western “Christian” nations do not really know Christ. Yet He wants to be known and loved by them, to have them be living parts of His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church. He does not send a star to guide them as He sent the star of Bethlehem to guide the Magi 2,000 years ago. No, He sends you, and He sends me. We are to be His witnesses today. Pope Francis has spoken recently about how we are to be witnesses of Christ to the world. We are not to simply engage in “proselytizing,” which often has the tenor of putting undue pressure on people, where we end up making converts who are “rice Christians” – baptized but for all the wrong reasons. No, we are to be witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are to bear Him witness with every word, every action, every thing that we choose not to do because it would be offensive to Him, or would give scandal to others. But when we are true witnesses of Christ, we do run a risk – a risk of being despised, hated, mocked, and even of suffering martyrdom – but that is what the word “martyr” actually means: “witness.” My brothers and sisters: may each of us renew our personal commitment to being a true witness of Jesus Christ to our world today, a world that so desperately needs Him!