We have all been in a restaurant or store and observed a small child misbehaving. And while we may become annoyed at the young one’s conduct, we are usually more critical of his or her parents. Now it is true that every one has a bad day now and then and that may be the case in the situation we are observing; the child could be hungry or ill. It is entirely possible however that he or she is just in need of parenting. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t prevent us from judging the parents based on the conduct of the child. Which leads me to the Question;
“What do people think about Jesus or Catholicism for that matter, when they observe my behavior?”
In the 6th century BC the Jews living in Judah were taken captive and exiled to Babylon. The prophet Ezekiel admonished the people of God by telling them that their captivity was imposed upon them because of their sinful behavior, they had “profaned the name of God” by not keeping His commandments. While in Babylon other nations ridiculed not only the Jewish people but God Himself: “These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave their land,” (Ez 36, 20b) implying that the God of Israel must not be very powerful if He was unable to protect His people. For this reason, Ezekiel goes on to say, God relented and allowed His people to return to Judah. “Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name,” (Ez 36, 22b). The remaining verses in this chapter of Ezekiel are beautiful and powerful, please take a moment and reflect on them.
God acted to protect His name. The chosen people had sinned and he punished them; however when that punishment resulted in others defaming Him, He relented. This episode in the in the history of Israel is insightful. God revels to us that He expects His people to act in a way that brings honor to Him. At one point in the Old Testament God says, “you shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy… Since I, the Lord, brought you up from the land of Egypt that I might be your God, you shall be holy, because I am holy,” (Lv 11, 44b-45).
When God created us He did so in His image. Clearly, He expects us to maintain that image for His glory. In His beautiful sermon on the mount Jesus tells us, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Mt 5, 48).
We are called to holiness because that is our nature. We are created in God’s image, a holy and perfect God who beckons us to a life that brings honor and glory to Him.
I ask myself, “does my conduct bring glory to God?”
I have much more to say on what a life of holiness entails. I will over the next few days post my thoughts. I welcome yours as well.
May God bless us all on our struggle to bring honor and glory to His holy name!