In today’s Gospel we read, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. What can we read into this passage? They are in the world: They’re in the thick of it. They are mixing it up in the midst of the mess. Those you gave me out of the world: They’re different. They’re “holy” from “hagia” meaning “something or someone ‘set apart.'”
- So who are these holy people who are set apart?
- What is their message?
- To whom are they being sent?
I was reading a Facebook post from Min Naht Le who wrote about his experience at the New Evangelization Summit last year. He learned from a speaker who were the leading figures of evangelization for specific time periods:
In the Roman Empire, during the Early Church, it was the bishops. In Europe, during the Middle Age, it was the monks. In America, during the Renaissance, it was the friars. Now, in this post-Chrisitianity age – its you, lay people, you who are “in the world.”
Now, you can just hear people in the pews saying, “Oh but not me, Father. I don’t do that evangelization thing:” What story do I tell? To whom am I supposed to tell this “Jesus story?”
Ian Van Heusen, another Facebook commentator, wrote this:
A current trend in the Catholic world is that good ideas and good follow through are not necessarily coming from traditional sources. Previously, a new impetus would arise when a saint with a particular charism would found a religious order. Then, it became a saint who would found a lay movement. Now (my theory) is that the saint of our time will be one who is a Catholic entrepreneur. Instead of founding a religious order, they might be build an organization that then influences the culture. This could be Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS which was founded in 1997 by Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri at Benedictine College in Aetchison, KS. Or it could be Word on Fire which was founded by(then) “Father” (now Bishop) Robert Barron. Father Barron had an interest in – and a talent for, social media. Word on Fire now has 1.4 million+ Facebook fans, 100,000+ Twitter followers, 100,000+ YouTube subscribers and 400 online video commentaries.
Achieving holiness is hard but you don’t have to travel to distant countries, do great things or suffer martyrdom to be a saint. Simply be a good mom or a dad. Be faithful to your husband or wife for 20 years. Stand up for any traditional Christian value in your high school or on any university campus or at work or Wegmans.
YOU ARE THE MESSENGERS.
Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden are two authors who have written a book (Someone To Tell It To) on vital connections. The thesis of the book is, “I have someONE to tell you.” Granted, this is a secular book on relationships but listen to the commentary within the book review:
The authors remind us that we are not alone in our fears or in our feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty. Vital connections can be life-giving and soul-enriching. Vital connections can bring peace in the dark seasons of our lives. These conversations with someone with whom you have a vital connection is “one of the fundamental needs of human beings.
Within the Christian context, “I have someone to tell you.” His name is Jesus Christ. This echoes today’s Gospel passage, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
THAT IS THE MESSAGE
You are called to give that “out of the world” message to others. Who are these others? Ask the Lord. One person I know once said that his prayer was, “Ok, Lord. You set up the next meeting.” It might be someplace unusual or during a spectacular religious occasion. Most likely it will be in the day-to-day events of your life. It could be at Wegman’s or Wawa; YMCA or yoga: soccer, baseball field or swimming meet. The Lord knows you. The Lord knows which person needs to hear your story and have you tell “someone” to someone else.
THIS IS THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO RECEIVE THE MESSAGE
This is done with someone who has a vital connection to you. But you will be a messenger in as far as you have a vital connection to Christ. It is up to you to pray, “Ok, Lord. Set up my next meeting.”
Whose giving the message? You are.
What’s the message? “I have someONE to tell you.”
To whom, is the message going? Whomever the Lord brings to you.
Audio version of homily is here: