For those of us who are men and women of faith, Christmas is a time to reflect on Mary’s calling, to become the Mother of God with all the trials, joys and sorrows that would bring to her young life. Mary heard the call from the Angel Gabriel and gave her unconditional assent to God’s will. As Jesus grew up, she listened and followed Him, pondering in her heart all she heard and saw.
As Pope Benedict comments in his Christmas Eve address to the Roman Curia, in order to evangelise there has to first be a proclamation, then listening to and following Jesus.
In John’s Gospel we read an account of an early proclamation: John the Baptist points towards Jesus and says: “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). The next verse reads: ‘When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.’ They are not yet disciples, merely curious about what this man Jesus has on offer. Turning round, Jesus asks the two men what they want. The two respond by asking Jesus where he is staying. At this point they are invited to ‘come and see’ and in taking up this opportunity they begin their journey as followers of Jesus.
This simple formula is one we might follow in our own lives. When the opportunity arises, we should have the courage to talk about our faith, not in complicated theological terms which are beyond most of us but in simple terms giving witness to Jesus’ work in our lives.
Many are searching for meaning in their lives and having heard your witness account, they may want to find out more and this in turn may lead to an opportunity to invite them to do so.
I remember an encounter with a fellow Scout leader during which I disclosed that I was a Catholic. The Scout leader said he had been brought up a Catholic but hadn’t been to Mass for years. I simply invited him to come along to my parish but the time wasn’t convenient. He asked about other parishes and I gave him the information and he has since returned to the practice of his faith.
There was no great teaching required, just openness about my own faith and how important it was to me followed by an invitation. Try it!
Prope est iam Dominus, venite, adoremus! The Lord is already near, come, let us adore him!