From Off the Record:
Hearing today's gospel (Mark 8:34ff), the following hard words of Jesus hit home:
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
For many contemporary Catholics, denying Jesus takes the form not of apostasy under duress but of "being ashamed" of him and his words -- not frequently, perhaps, but on those occasions when they are anxious not to appear uncouth or ignorant or in the grip of unfashionable moral hang-ups. Business luncheons, faculty receptions, museum benefit galas can by more subtle means accomplish what Tyburn and the Coliseum could not. When a Christian finds himself in the company of prosperous scoffers, it's hard, particularly with a manhattan or glass of chardonnay in hand, to interrupt the flow of elegant blasphemy, and it's all too easy to feign agreement by one's silence. In such circles, mention of the Son of Man -- i.e., positive, non-sarcastic mention -- is as unlovely as a brown tooth. Yet what Christian would have the honesty to admit that he kept quiet in such circumstances because he was ashamed of Jesus? It hurts to think about.
You can read Diogenes' full reflection here.
What he points out, I'm afraid, does not apply solely to those Catholics absorbed with worldly business. How often have I found myself experiencing pangs of guilt, for not having spoken up? How many useless and even blasphemous conversations will I have to answer for on the Last Day? Having breathed my last, will Our Lord be pleased to see me, or will his face be filled with sorrow and sadness? My greatest fear is to be yet another Christian who has loved him so little in return...
"Behold this heart which has loved men so much; and been loved so little in return."