07/01/2018 - "WHAT JESUS IS OFFERING YOU IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER!"

WHAT JESUS IS OFFERING YOU IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER!

In our first homily on “GO FORTH!” I strove to help you understand how you are responsible for what happens to other people and I promised that Deacon Charlie, Fr. Peter and myself would be equipping you over the weeks to come to joyfully embrace your responsibility for others, especially the people in your four circles of love.

Let’s now take a look at what our Lord is offering you, keeping in mind, that these are easy things that are within your reach.

The first thing that our Lord is offering is a RELATIONSHIP. You experience this in your STRONG RELIANCE ON DAILY PRAYER. Jesus loves to hear your voice, He loves when you share your life with Him. The more you turn to Jesus during the course of your day and ask Him to bless your conversations, to bless the work of your hands, to bless your projects at work, the more Jesus is able to break into your daily life and give you daily, tangible signs that He is alive, He loves you, and He cares about all aspects of your life.

Through IMMERSED IN SCRIPTURE, Jesus offers you CONVERSATION. There is something extraordinary about holding God’s Word in your hands on a daily basis. He really speaks to you. Spending time with the Bible on a daily basis offers you the opportunity to get to know and love Jesus more and more. You actually become in tune to God’s voice and to the wisdom, love, light, and strength He offers as He speaks to you.

We worship the Living God! We are meant for Him! He is not satisfied in just telling us that He loves us, He loves to SHOW us His love. In NOURISHED BY THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS, we saw how our Lord offers us an EXPERIENCE. Especially in the Most Holy Eucharist, we see Jesus at the altar just like on Holy Thursday. We see Him take our bread and wine, and by His Divine Power, He transforms them into the One, True Sacrifice of the Cross. Do you see how much He loves you? He comes down from Heaven at every Mass so that you may experience being touched by God and have the opportunity to touch God! He loves you so much, He comes down from heaven so that you might receive Him into your heart and life.

We are not all blessed to have a circle of love where we receive love. Some of us live by ourselves or don’t have anyone in our homes that actively loves us. The fourth thing our Lord offers us is a family, a community of love. In “LOVE OF BRETHREN” we saw how our Lord commands us to love one another in the same way He loves us. It’s in our parish family that we have an opportunity to share all the love and grace we receive in our prayer, scripture readings, and sacraments with one another. In our parish family, there are people who would love the opportunity to love and serve you, to get to know you and offer you friendship.

Do you see now all that Jesus is offering you and how it is equipping you to share your faith and love for Him with others?

HOW DO WE INTEGRATE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD INTO OUR RELATIONSHIP AND CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHERS?

In last Sunday’s homily, we saw how we can integrate our relationship with the Lord into our conversations and relationships with others. I used an excellent article I found on the inter-varsity evangelism web page on conversational tips for evangelism. It is an excellent article written by Luke Cawley. Here is a summary of Luke’s tips.

First, we are open to have conversations with anyone. If you know a man who is retired, they are excellent at modeling this openness to all of us. Deacon Charlie shared his own dad’s ability to engage everyone in conversation and I too experience this with my dad. Retired men have an awesome ability to engage everyone in conversation and to make them feel important and included. In order to be open to conversations with anyone, some of us have to adjust our life patterns to do so. Yes, at times, we are extremely busy and we have to run from one thing to another. We need to recognize that at times it is okay to stop for five minutes and engage someone in a conversation. Living life at a slower pace not only allows us to engage others, it is also better and far healthier for us!

Next, we simply chat with people about everyday life. We can tell a story or ask them if they’ve enjoyed something they’ve watched, read or ate recently. Keep in mind, the person you are talking to might not have that many opportunities in their life to engage others in conversation. The simple fact that you pause for a moment to speak with them means a lot to them. It’s okay if it ends here. If you have to go or they have to go, you have not wasted time by engaging another person in a brief conversation. Hopefully, this chatting about everyday life will become the foundation for you sharing your faith with others.

Thirdly, you begin to ask others questions. As you speak with them and listen, you are asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand how Jesus would be good news to them. You might become aware of their complete lack of hope that their life can be better, or of a recent death of a loved one, or of an illness or pain in their lives. As you become aware of how this person hearing about Jesus as good news, that will inspire you to tell them about Him.

Lastly, you listen to them and share Jesus with them. If you wonder what is meant by “share Jesus with them”, please recall all that Jesus is offering you! You have a relationship with Jesus, you engage Him in conversation, you have experiences of His love and you are a part of a loving community and parish family. You will be inspired at times to share with others your experience of hearing Jesus’ voice in prayer, or sharing a Scripture verse that really spoke to you and you realize it will really speak to them, or telling others of your experience of the presence of Jesus in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. You might share Jesus with someone else by offering to pray with them and for them. Hopefully, you’ll even be able to share the love you’ve received from your brothers and sisters in Christ in our parish.

There are so many people in our lives that are dying to hear the Good News of Jesus! As we have received so much from Jesus in our lives may we become more generous in sharing Him with others!

Fr. Michael