A cross sign in the middle of a sunset

Who Did You Bring?

The other day I wrote about the difficultly we experience in sharing our faith. We prefer keeping our faith to ourselves to taking the risk in preaching about Christ in today’s society. I get it, but is it paying off like we would like? Rather than gaining favor with God, we are merely buying our time on earth until the judgment. Truth is, until we go out and share the Gospel, we are no better than those who refuse it.

Today is the Feast of Saint Philip the Apostle. We find him, as the Gospel reading today reveals, going out and searching for his friends to share the Good News that he had found Christ. Before Saint Philip was able to even recognize Christ as the Savior, he had to take time learning about Who the Savior was going to be. Saint Philip was faithful to the Prophets which allowed him to be faithful to Christ.

At that time, Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael, and he said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”  Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”  Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”  Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?  You shall see greater things than these.”  And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

John 1.43-51

What about us? Do we take the time to learn about Christ from the Church and the Holy Fathers? Philip was so excited about finding Christ, he rushed out to find his friends. Does our knowledge of Christ give us the excitement to share with others? Do we ever bother to go and invite our friends?

If we feel afraid to go and invite strangers, I understand that. The many stories in the Scriptures about inviting others was focused on invited friends and family. People of faith have always invited people they knew and trusted. This was especially true in the ancient Church when it was dangerous admitting your faith.

I recall one time speaking with an Orthodox Christian about inviting people to church. This person shared a story about how a neighbor who had just moved to town asked about a ‘good church’ to attend. I asked, “Did you invite your neighbor to our Church?” I was shocked to hear the response. “NO! THIS is the not the right Church for HER!”

Imagine refusing to invite someone who was actually fishing for an invitation! Yet, we do the same every day when we speak with friends and coworkers about life. We refuse in our hearts to think our friends might find peace and comfort in our Church.

I guess maybe one reason is we don’t crave God like Philip did, at least those of us lucky enough to be born in the faith. We go through our daily life taking our Church for granted. It has always been there and will always be there. For those who have been searching for faith, it is altogether different. In my experience those who find the Church through prayer and searching are so excited they found the Church; they can’t help but invite others who they know are searching.

Where does that leave us? I guess we need to get excited about our Church and our faith, like Saint Philip was. We need to get excited enough to invite our friends and neighbors. There is peace in Christ and His Church. There isn’t a single person who reads this blog who does not know at least one person who is searching for peace. Go out! Find that person! Invite that person!

At a minimum you may want to share our ministry with friends who may be searching. Maybe together we invite them to Live A New Life In Christ.

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