There are two things that influence Christians to be quiet, or secret, about their faith. One is the pressure our society puts on people not to “impose” their beliefs upon others (and thereby discouraging public manifestation of one’s faith). The other is the entirely valid desire of Christians not to “flaunt” their faith. And yet, the Lord has told us that we must not hide our faith. “You are the light of the world.... your light must shine before others.” (From today’s Gospel reading from Matthew.)
There are many symbols which help make our faith visible. When priests and religious wear their “religious” clothes, that is one way. The display of the crucifix and religious images and statues within one’s home is another way of keeping the faith visibly present for one’s family and visitors. (And you can always tell that a Catholic lives in a home when you see a statue of the Blessed Virgin on the front lawn!) The reverent wearing of religious symbols is also a good thing, for it reminds us of who we are and what we believe. Of course, we are not simply supposed to look like Christians; we are supposed to act like Christians. Then we can fulfill the primary message contained in the passage from Matthew: “... that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
The Lord is a master at using the simplest of images to teach profound truths. Just as a pinch of salt makes a bland dish into a tasty meal, so too does the presence of active Christian love “flavor” the world in which we live. Think, for instance, of how much the active love of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has changed the whole world. And, as the smallest light can provide comfort and direction in the darkness, so too does the simplest act of Christian love provide hope and encouragement for those who struggle or who despair. Certainly we must avoid the sin of pride. But the Lord commands us to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Don’t be bashful about it: be liberal with the salt, and put the lights on high-beam!
May God bless you!