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How will you celebrate the Year of Faith?

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October 29, 2012

By Greg Hartman

Pope Benedict XVI has declared this year a Year of Faith. We also have heard the word “evangelization.” What exactly is evangelization, and how does that pertain to me? Often we link that word with evangelizers or evangelists so we think we’re being called to proclaim the Gospel on a street corner. It is much different than that.


If you look back in your life, what was the greatest gift ever given? Ok, maybe if someone gave me a Ferrari or season box seat tickets to the Reds Game…Box Seats! Seriously, it was life. And somehow (the answer is through the Holy Spirit) we were brought into the church. What a great gift! If you decided to rank order the “cool” things in your life, would “being catholic” be on the list?


Imagine yourself opening the mail one morning and you received a special invitation to meet Jesus Christ. What would your reaction be? We meet Christ in the Eucharist at Mass on Sundays. We can rejoice in our successes, talk with him about our concerns and failures. It’s that easy. You don’t even have to rent a tux! You don’t need fancy prayers, a degree or even a resume.


Taking time with Christ in the Eucharist can profoundly change our lives, but we need to be willing let transformation take place. I pray to win the lottery all the time. I haven’t yet. Of course, it would help if I bought a ticket. Truly meeting Christ in the Eucharist transforms our vision. It doesn’t make us perfect, or better than others: that vision takes away our blindness to those things keeping us from being fully human.


Once we’ve opened that invitation, what is the natural response when perhaps we have met a celebrity, a ball player, etc.? We want to share that meeting. We snap pictures, put it on Facebook, email it to our friends. That is what evangelization is: simply sharing that meeting of Christ in the Eucharist with those around us. Some are called to the pulpit, some are called as leaders of the parish, but the calling is simply sharing. When your son or daughter comes home and is upset because of a bad day at school, it’s sharing with them the living Christ. When you have an elderly parent who is sick, it’s holding their hand and bringing Christ to them when they are scared and alone. It’s a quick hello to a co-worker in the elevator. It’s taking time with a friend who is jobless and helping them cope. It’s sharing time with a relative who is in alcoholic or drug addict and giving them hope. That’s evangelization.


We may think we don’t have the talent, or knowledge: give what you have. All of us are on a different part of the journey. So if you’re bowled under by life’s pressure, family or relationship difficulties, unemployed, or just lost: meet Christ in the Eucharist. Lay it on the line and watch the transformation take place. Then, share that journey in all of the glory and pain with those around you. That’s evangelization.


So as we launch our year of faith, our year of evangelization, think of the fact you were chosen for this before you were even born. Think of ways to celebrate your faith and sharing in your family and the community around you. There are thousands of ways to celebrate this year of faith: because there are thousands in this archdiocese with so many unique talents and capabilities. How will you celebrate?


In summation: * Evangelization is sharing with those around us; * meet Christ in the Eucharist and evangelize by sharing; * think of ways to celebrate your faith. Next month we’ll look at getting reacquainted with our faith.

Hartman is the circulation manager for The Catholic Telegraph.

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