Thursday, June 24, 2010


I remember being a small kid and my Mom taking me to Downtown Akron on the Metro bus. There was always someone to remember on the Metro. Thankfully it was typically unusually nice people but occasionally not.

One time there was a young man who got on the bus and started talking to the person in the front seat. Rather loudly he asked, “Are you saved?” The answer must not have been what he wanted to hear for he started telling the person that if they wanted to get into heaven they had to do such and so. As you can imagine this did not go over very well. So he moved on to the next seat. The same scenario followed. By the time he made it to the third or fourth seat people would not even talk to him.

Though I was only in grade school this scene has stuck with me throughout the years. The mission was both a failure and a success. First it was a failure because nobody wanted to take advantage of the man’s offer of salvation. They were completely turned off. They were judged implicitly as hell bound. Before anything was known about them they had their hands slapped and then told to come to wherever he was for healing love. Kind of a contradictory message.

It was a success in that it impressed on me the way not to evangelize. I will grant you that there are times that you need to kick someone in the batootee, but you should know them first if possible and they should know that what you are saying is because you love them, a love that has been expressed and proven in the past. But rather than condemning and ordering, I find it much better to propose and invite.

If we are going to bring the Eucharist to the world, we first much be convicted. We have to be people of prayer, of sacrament, of striving for sanctifying grace, of exemplifying the life at home, work, and recreation. Then people must know that first they are loved by God, not condemned first with the hope of being saved. When they are faced with questions we propose faith answers. “To be quite honest, when I am faced with these problems, the only thing that really helps me is turning to prayer.” The other half of the equation is the invitation, “Do you want me to pray with you” or “If you ever want to, I help you pray,” or “My family and I go to Mass every Sunday, we would love to have you come sit with us.”

Example, proposing, and inviting, all encased in a sincere love for others. This is a recipe for evangelization on this day when we celebrate the nativity of the first evangelizer of Christ, John the Baptist.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone does not know the hell.....

Odysseus said...


Please, father, I thought this was a family-friendly blog...