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Today we finish our series on the theme of evangelization. The final challenge of Patrick Sullivan in his book, “Dare to be an Evangelist” is “be joyful.” It makes sense – how will others know that we have “good news” to share if we are sad, pessimistic, or grumpy? Pope Francis has joked several times about how some Christians look like they just came from a funeral or just sucked a lemon. If Jesus Christ has brighten our lives – it should show in our faces.
Yet it is not easy to be joyful at all times. Being a Christian does not automatically make life easier. Bad things still happen to Christians – our loved ones still get sick like everyone else, we lose our jobs, we have difficult family members. When we try to share our faith we can quickly become discouraged – our best efforts to bring our friends and family to Jesus don’t always bear fruit.
How do we keep smiling? How do we keep going? Only with the help of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul says that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit – a result of the spirit in our lives. Our joy does not come from the circumstances of daily life – which are in constant flux. Our joy comes from our supernatural faith in Jesus Christ. As our Gospel teaches, it is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of what Jesus told us.
The Spirit reminds us that Jesus forewarned us: “In the world you will have troubles but be of good faith, I have conquered the world” Jesus told us that many would not believe. He said we would be persecuted. That we would carry the cross. He said that his Gospel would pit father against son and brother against sister. Yet he is risen – I have conquered the world Jesus has won the victory over sin and death. He cannot and will not ever lose. Life may be hard but we have assurance of the victory.
The Spirit reminds us of Jesus promise: “Whoever loves me will keep my commandments and my Father will love him and we will make our home with him.” Jesus promises to abide with those who keep his commandments. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who comes to dwell within us at our baptism. No matter what we face we are never alone or abandoned, Jesus is always with us. The spirit dwells within us.
The Spirit reminds us of Christ’s promise. “I have chosen you to bear fruit, fruit that will last.” Jesus has chosen us to evangelize. He did not set us up to fail. Jesus wants our efforts to be fruitful. He wants to help many souls through us. So we cannot be discouraged by our lack of visible results. We will only know the amount of people who lives we effected in heaven. Jesus has promised we will be fruitful and he does not lie. We must trust in him.
We have been called to evangelize. I hope that many of you have taken up the challenge to try and share your faith with others. I hope that you are continuing with the dares from Patrick’s book. Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than 40 days – I am still on Dare #9! The book is still available on the Lighthouse stand.
Let us recap what we have learned. In order to evangelize we must be people of prayer – we cannot help other know and love Jesus if we do not know and love Jesus. To evangelize is nothing more than to be a good friend – to listen, to offer help and to share what is deep in our hearts. We must show people that we love them, by being generous with our time and treasure. Evangelization is not easy – but we can remain joyful if we trust in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reminds us that Christ has conquered, he is always with us and he wants us to bear fruit.
Now go – and bear fruit!