September 15, 2006

2006 Religious Education Supplement

How do we show Christ to others?

By Harry Dudley

Helping others to encounter the living Christ is a fundamental goal of all catechetical efforts.

When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8:29), he reminds us that before teaching others about Christ, we must know him well ourselves.

There are many answers we can give to Jesus’ question. He is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the Messiah, and Christ, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer.

He is also a loving brother and friend, a teacher and guide, one who comforts us in our sorrow and need, and also gives us the strength to always do his will. It is a responsibility of all disciples of Jesus to be able to answer his question and then to lead others to respond in the same way.

The question that Jesus asked his disciples so long ago is one that each Christian must answer for herself or himself, even today. How we respond to this question affects how we live, pray, make decisions and form relationships. It is a question that goes to the very heart of Christian discipleship.

In answering the question Jesus poses to us, we need to reflect on how our lives can be a “living catechesis.”

Can our lives, not just our words, make evident our answer to who Jesus is? Consider these possible ways to live out the answer:

  • Learn more about our Catholic faith—Read, reflect and study the new United States Catholic Catechism for Adults with others in small faith-sharing groups and other gatherings so that you can better know him. Visit the University of Dayton Web site and take enrichment courses through the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation at
  • Deepen your participation in the Eucharist—Gather together weekly with the parish community to celebrate the Eucharist. When we receive the body and blood of our Lord, pray that we become what we eat so we can be Christ’s body for others throughout the week.
  • Base your choices on Christian principles—Ask yourself: If I were brought to trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? Consult the Scriptures and Church teaching in making decisions in your life. Our daily decisions need to reflect the values of Jesus.
  • Set aside time for prayer—Pray frequently. Prayer is most simply communication with God. Make time in your day—perhaps by rising a little earlier in the morning, taking a meditative walk at lunchtime or turning off the television at night in favor of reading some Scripture or other spiritual reading.
  • Cherish your family, friends and catechists—Look for the face of Christ in the people who are closest to you. Give thanks each day for those people, living or dead, who have inspired you by sharing their faith and helping you to live more generously and graciously.
  • Reach out to those in need—Participate in a parish social action project, advocate for human rights or volunteer your time at a facility that provides assistance to those in need. As you do so, try to remember that this most closely reflects how Jesus himself responded to the sick and the poor he met.

(Harry Dudley is the associate executive director for Lifelong Faith Formation and Evangelization for the archdiocese.)


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