Today is the feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist, a good time for reflection, as Fr. Pavlik pointed out in his homily this morning.
St. Matthew earned the title "Evangelist" as author of one of the Gospels. However, as Fr. Pavlik said, in a sense all the saints are evangelists, since their primary route to sanctity was in living and preaching the Gospels. And for that reason, we are all called to be evangelists as well.
Not all of us will be preaching from the pulpit, converting souls, or writing about our faith. For many of us, our evangelization will consist of being a living witness to the faith, in the things we say and do, as well as in those things we do not say or do.
But one of the things we have to combat today, more than ever, is the pressure we feel to renounce our faith in our public lives. Politicians, judges, businessmen and women, artists, schoolchildren - all come under this pressure. It's fine to believe in the privacy of your own home, but if you dare to bring it into the public arena, forget about it.
Well, we can't and shouldn't forget about it. We should not fear living our faith in public, in letting it show even in the quiet ways we go about our lives.
It may be like swimming upstream to take on the secularism and materialism of our increasingly pagan culture, but have courage and faith, and pray to St. Matthew for the strength to be countercultural.
For the strength to be an evangelist to the world.