In the second reading St. Peter told us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for the reason for your hope.”
That means that your beliefs should be a personal matter, which you are ready to explain to anyone. It’s not enough for you to say that you are a Catholic, and as such, you belief whatever Catholics are supposed to believe.
Last week we had a funeral for Lois McNally, a lady who at ninety-six was always reading about her faith, searching for a richer grasp of its treasures. Attending her funeral, and listening to what was being said about her, I suddenly remembered a priest friend who was a different kind of Catholic. As a kid he had learned the catechism, and as a seminarian he had learned his theology. He had all of that packaged away inside him.
That was Father Jimmy O’Brien, a great priest, who fifty-five years ago was working with me in the same Korean parish. One day we got the sad news that Father Michael O’Healy, a friend of ours, had given up the priesthood to marry a Korean lady.
Father O’Brien’s comment was, “He should have talked to a priest.”
I asked, “Which priest?”
Father O’Brien said, “It doesn’t matter. We all learned the same things.”
Waiting my chance to say a word at Lois’s funeral, it occurred to me that there are two kinds of Catholics. Those like Father O’Brien who are happy, holding tightly to what they learned early in life, and those like Lois who spend a life burrowing deeper into their faith.