Before starting college, I was energized and excited to have the opportunity to share the gospel with my soccer teammates and my fellow classmates. In my head I had this romanticized idea of sharing the Good News, and thought that it would be all kicking butt and taking names and leading people to Jesus. I thought if I studied enough apologetics and read my catechism, I’d have all the answers and convert the masses!
My freshman year of college, my roommate and my boyfriend started the process of converting to the Catholic Faith. Walking with both of these people was a very fruitful and frustrating experience. I struggled with my own faith, as I watched two people that I cared about the most, contemplate and discern the faith that guided and provided purpose for my existence. I struggled to hear them say “I don’t understand this” or “I don’t know if I believe that.”
In the first reading today, we see Saint Paul very frustrated in his pursuit of sharing the good news. I so relate to his words and emotions, because that’s exactly how I felt. In my eyes, the answer was right in front of my roommate and boyfriend. . . all they needed to do was open their eyes!
“When they opposed him and reviled him,he shook out his garments and said to them,”Your blood be on your heads!'”
Through this experience my eyes were opened to the fact I was working with people. I know that sounds strange, but I was so focused on explaining knowledge and information to my roommate and boyfriend, I lost sight of the fact that I needed to be intentional and relational with them.
I think often times we get so hung up on getting people to know things about God, we forget that in order for true discipleship to occur people need to actually know God. Before we introduce to them knowledge and information, we need to introduce them to the Jesus Christ.
I’m not an expert on evangelization by any means, and I’m still learning how to better evangelize every single day. However, I use to think that the fate of conversion rested upon my ability to explain the doctrine of the Church. The reality is that Jesus is the Savior, not me. The Salvation of Souls does not rest upon my shoulders. I can help contribute to the salvation of souls, but Jesus is the only one who saves. At the end of the day, our hearts are not thirsting for knowledge of God, but to be loved and known by God.