We hear a lot in the mainstream media that The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not Islamic, that ISIS and other Islamic terrorists are radicalized Muslims or Muslim extremists that don’t adhere to the teachings of Islam. The unfortunate message that comes out of this is that radicalization and being an extremist are bad. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christians are called to live the Gospel radically.
We are called to be extremists if we want to follow Christ – sell all that you possess, feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, clothe the naked, love your enemies… Christ tells us to be extreme (hot or cold) not lukewarm. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I [wish] thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
Often times, people look at Christians who are not following the teachings of Jesus Christ or His Church (e.g. homosexual priests abusing altar boys, those who hate others, etc.) and points to them as examples of what is wrong with Christianity or at the very least Christianity is not worth following.
In every religion there will be bad “followers” – people who do not adhere faithfully to the teachings of their faith. If that is the case then how do we discern, beyond the fallen human element, whether a religion is good or evil?
To discern whether a religion is good you must look at the faithful adherents to the teachings of that religion – the radicals and extremists of that religion. What does someone who is radically following the teachings of a given religion look like?
Look at their saints and martyrs.
The world is crying out for the radicalization of Catholics… just look at our brothers and sisters suffering in the Middle East under the yoke of Islam, corruption, war, the killing of the unborn, etc.
Imagine if all Catholics lived the Gospel radically like St. Francis, St. Catherine of Siena, the Jesuit missionary martyrs, Mother Teresa and others… We would win hearts and souls for Christ, and in turn, make the world a better place!
Now GO… and live the Gospel radically.