Daily Reflection - April 25, 2020

 “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15

Wait… To the whole creation? As in, to the whole world?? 

How can I do that? 

Feeling overwhelmed? Yeah, me too. How about let’s replace the whole world with one person at a time and start there. 

Okay, one person definitely feels more manageable than the whole world. But still, how? You know what, before we can talk about sharing our faith with even one person, we need to go back a step. 

To start, we need to actually have people in our lives we can evangelize. Lots of us participate in our church youth or young adult group, live with other Christians, have friends we met through church, etc. but then, before we realize it, we go through most of our week barely interacting with non-Christians!

That’s a problem. 

How can we evangelize the whole world if we don’t have meaningful relationships with people who aren’t like us? Yes, it’s important to have a strong community, but we’re called to go out and be a part of the world! 

Shortly after my conversion, I began working in ministry. Within a few years, I found myself going from a life of mostly non-Christian friends to being surrounded by Christians day and night. I had a rude awakening while listening to a talk by a priest. He asked us about people we were sharing our faith with and I realized that, since I had moved, I wasn’t regularly spending time with anyone who didn’t share my faith. 

I had work to do. I resolved to find ways to start making new friends outside of Church and ministry because I was losing touch with the reality of our culture. Here are some things I found helpful and ideas you could try out:

Join a group. 

For me, it was sports. I signed up for a league that assigned me to a team rather than joining with people I knew. I picked a sport I enjoyed and got assigned to a team of 8 complete strangers with little else in common than our weekly game. Over time we got to know each other and continued to play together for years and occasionally socialized outside of the games. Maybe sports isn’t your thing, but you could join a book club, board game group, a drama troupe… there’s something for almost any interest!

Take a class or learn a new skill. 

Maybe you’ve always liked Mexican food and want to learn new recipes. Learn a new language, or how to sew! Find your artistic side by taking a pottery or photography course. A simple google or Facebook search will bring up options for what’s available near you! It’s helpful to try something that is a weekly event so you can actually build relationships with those people and get to know them. Show up early and don’t rush out! 

Volunteer. For something outside of your Church. 

Yes, please help your parish in some way, but if you want to expand your social circles, volunteering is effective and rewarding! It can be regular, like serving food at a local shelter each week, but there are also many community fundraisers and events (walks, BBQs, festivals) that need just a one-day commitment. Bonus: these are great on resumes and can help get you connections and references for future opportunities in life! 

Don’t do it alone. 

While I think we need a variety of friends, I do think it can be difficult to step outside our comfort zones, especially if it’s not something we’re used to doing. Having a friend with us can make any activity more fun and give us the confidence to reach out to new people together. Just ensure you don’t spend all your time with your friend and neglect to actually get to know new people! 

Don’t have an agenda, even a good one.

Do we want to see every person come to know Jesus? Absolutely! Hope for that and pray for that, definitely, but your relationship with this other person cannot be a means to an end, it needs to be the end itself. You need to love and accept them for who they are first, or you’ll miss the entire point.

Relationships teach us about the world, ourselves and others, and help us grow as people. By simply being yourself and being attentive to the Holy Spirit, your faith will naturally come out and before you know it, you will have plenty of evangelization opportunities! 

I challenge you to look at who you have in your circles. Are you surrounded by other Christians? Over the next month, come up with one way you can step outside your comfort zone and ask someone to help keep you accountable to that. Do you have relationships with those who don’t know Christ? Ask Him how He wants you to proclaim the good news to them! 

“And the eleven went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:20