With Pentecost, we ask the Holy Spirit to set all of us at St. Mary of the Angels on fire to launch out into the deep waters of evangelization, just as he did the first apostles almost 2000 years ago.
The circumstances today are not much different than they were in the times of the apostles. The culture and the political elite were against them, but the people were open. Recent surveys show that 20% on non-Christian adults are interested in learning about Christianity. In addition, 50% on lapsed Christians—those who don’t attend Mass or Christian services—are still curious about who God is. This means is there is a great opportunity for us to share our Faith with others. We don’t have to put people on a guilt trip, just share with others who we are and what our Faith has meant to us.
What people who don’t know Christ need are authentic witnesses, normal people who are filled with peace and joy. Sure there are people who want to paint Christianity as filled with angry fanatics who condemn everyone around them. If our lives point to the opposite—that we are loving, understanding, and here to serve and make the lives of other people happier—then we will draw people to Christ.
Our world is provoking a lot of fear and anxiety: 40-50% of young are anxious, uncertain, depressed. Yet we a called to be a people of faith and hope that dispels all fear and anxiety, with the firm hope in the resurrection of the Last Day. As St. Peter reminds us: “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).
Let’s not be afraid. Our young Catholics are ready to lead. A recent survey shows that 75% of millennial Catholics who attend Mass say they have a personal responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs, and about 30% actually do. Perhaps older Catholics are less comfortable about explaining their faith to others, yet the time has come for us all to do more to reach others.
We can start in a simple, non threatening way. Ask a neighbor, colleague, or friends about what they did during their weekend. When they ask you, mention a few things and then tell them about your experience coming to Mass, praying, making a good Confession, and the family activity you did afterwards. Share with them what it meant to you, how it help give you peace, let go of past mistakes, and prepare you for the coming week’s challenges. Then let it go, unless they ask for more.
I pray that this will start a deeper friendship with your friends, and lead to new and better conversations in the future. May our Lord’s good Mother bless our efforts as the Holy Spirit inspires each Catholic to bear witness to the hope that is in each of us.
Yours In Christ,
Fr. John Waiss