A friend of mine works part time for a large retailer in another state. One of her co-workers is a real piece of work. She lies and steals other people's sales, but she won't help clean or do anything else that is a requirement of the job. The other day my friend was having a conversation with her about different religions when this co-worker announced she was Catholic and said the rosary TWICE a day! I wanted to get on a plane and strangle her with those very beads!
Years ago I had a friend who had an uncle who drank and beat his wife and kids, but was in church every Sunday without fail. As kids, it just didn't make sense. It still doesn't, although now it makes me very, very angry.
I went to a retreat where the priest talked about "wearing" your faith. You get up in the morning pick up your bible and rosary from the chair, do your prayers and put them back. Then you may put your clothes on and head out into the world. What you need to do is take that bible and rosary with you. Not necessarily in a physical sense, but in a mind set. You have to live your faith!
Now maybe my friend's co-worker truly didn't think her "real" actions were noticed and that she could portray herself as a good Catholic woman. Or maybe her actions and her prayer life were so separate that she doesn't even realize what she's doing. Or she's lying. Either way, Mother Teresa could be a few feet from her and people will notice Miss Rosary Twice a Day and the fact that she's an idiot!
That's what happens in all faiths. The knuckleheads get the attention and the rest of us struggle to follow our beliefs and to give the world the very best of who we are.
In yesterday's Gospel (Matthew 8:5-11, Catholic Women's Devotional Bible NRSV), a centurian appealed to Jesus to cure his servant. Jesus agrees. But the centurian tells Jesus he is not worthy to have him under his roof, "but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'go, 'and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and the slave does it." When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith."
We are all under some kind of authority. If you are a person of faith live it, breathe it, and act it. The world will become a better place.