Archive for April, 2008

Being an Evangelizer

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

  April 27, 2008

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17; 1 Peter 3: 15-18; Jn 14: 15-21

Presented 4/24/08 at Westminster Tower

Dc. Larry Brockman

Did you know that all of you share something in common with Phillip?  You see, Phillip was evangelizing the Samaritans.  That’s what the first reading was all about.  And, by virtue of your Baptism, you, too, are all called to be Evangelizers.  That means you are all called to bring people to the Faith just like Phillip. 

By the way, that is a theme of our whole Diocese this year- Evangelizing.  There’s a Diocessan festival in works at OCCC from May 8 to May 10.  Thousands are expected to attend, and the theme is our need to Evangelize.

Now I know many of you think that evangelizing is for someone else.  “Certainly not me!” you think, “What can I do”?  “I am not going to bring thousands of Samaritans to the Faith”.  Well, take a closer look at what Peter has to say in the second reading.  Peter is talking about evangelizing, too.  First, Peter says that you should always be ready to give an explanation of your hope.  Hope- let’s look at the hope part.  All of us that are here at this Service- we are here because we have hope.  We believe that Jesus is risen from the dead, and that he went to the Father, and that he is coming back to take us to the Father with him- if we love him by keeping His commandments.  We all have that hope, right?   

Next, Peter says that when we give an explanation of our hope- that means we do it; we are not silent.  Then we do are to do it out of our conviction with gentleness and reverence.  All of us can do that, no matter what our status is- young or old; healthy or not; married or single; whatever.  It does take courage, and we’ll get to that.  Because Peter goes on to say that you may have to suffer- suffer because of your testimony to your faith and hope.  And that just goes to show that the world hasn’t changed much in the last 2000 years.  Because people now, just as people then, have to suffer when they tell an inconvenient truth or they stand up for their belief.  Peter’s contemporaries were put to death by the Roman emperor.  Fortunately, most of us here won’t have to suffer that way.  But, when you are called upon to defend your hope and your faith, you may have to suffer in other ways- or to make a sacrifice.  It can be as simple as making a commitment to attend Mass or this Communion Service- that can sometimes involve a sacrifice; or living with a disability or an illness.  If you bear those circumstances with dignity and maintain your Christian faith and hope throughout, then you are evangelizing others.  You see, people are watching how you behave in difficulties.  So, you can be evangelizing them whether you know it or not.  Of course, when you stand up to people who challenge you, just as the people of Peter’s time you are also evangelizing.  It can be things like defending the right to life; defending marriage; the Eucharist; the trinity; and that Jesus really is God and became man.  All of you have discussions with others about your faith like this.  And when you defend your faith, with gentleness and reverence, you are evangelizing.   

As I mentioned, you can do it, but it does take courage- courage to bear pain; courage to say or do the right thing, courage to be gentle and reverent.  Where can we get the kind of courage we need?  Well, all things are possible if we are filled with the Spirit.  In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he will send the Spirit, the advocate.  We know that the Spirit is real; and has power to work through us.  Look at the story of Phillip again.  One man, so filled with the Spirit, that he cast out many devils; one man who converted the Samaritans, a people who were considered hopeless by the Jews at that time.  Yes, indeed, the Spirit of God is the source of the courage and wisdom we need.  And, He is just a prayer away.