A long while ago, I watched a video on youtube called “Eight Reasons Why I don’t share my Faith.” I remember it being hilarious. It features a young man who is afraid of sharing his faith. He manifests his fears about sharing his faith in eight very funny sketches.
The eight reasons are:
- I might get beat up.
- I won’t make any sense.
- I might be made fun of.
- I don’t know how to start.
- I’ll be a bad witness.
- I’ll say the wrong thing.
- People will think I’m a religious nut.
- I don’t know enough.
Jesus calls us today to be salt of the earth, light of the world, a city on a mountain, and a lamp on the lampstand. The common thread of these comparisons is boldness in evangelization.
While this video exaggerates the dangers of evangelizing, we often believe these things or use them as excuses.
A big enemy of evangelization is “human respect.” Human respect is fearing man more than God; being more concerned with what people think of us than God. This fear is at the root of many of our sins.
Sometimes human respect moves us to do what we don’t want to because of what people would say if we didn’t. This instance of human respect is similar to what we call “peer pressure.” In this scenario, a young adult might be moved to drink more than he is comfortable with, because he fears his peers would make fun of him and call him “lightweight.”
At other times human respect moves us to commit sins of omission. In this case, we end up not doing a good action because people might criticize us. This is often the case with evangelization.
Contrary to human respect, Jesus is making a case for boldness in sharing the Gospel. Commenting on this passage St. John Chrysostom says: “It is not for you then to flatter and deal smoothly with men, but, on the contrary, to be rough and biting as salt is. When for thus offending men by reproving them ye are reviled, rejoice; for this is the proper effect of salt to be harsh and grating to the depraved palate. Thus the evil-speaking of others will bring you no inconvenience, but will rather be a testimony of your firmness.” We are called to be “rough and biting,” challenging the world to change.
Jesus also says, “you are the light of the world.” St. Hilary comments, saying, “It is the nature of a light to emit its rays whithersoever it is carried about, and when brought into a house to dispel the darkness of that house.”
If in the case of salt, we had a meaning of “challenge,” in the case of light, the sense is more positive. Light gets everywhere and dispels darkness.
In the life of the Apostles, the light of the Gospel reached all the corners of the known world. The Church rapidly expanded.
The light of the Gospel also helped countless pagans to turn from a life of sin to the joy of living with the Lord.
In evangelizing, then, let us be salt and light. Salt that challenges others, is bold, and has no regard for human respect. A light that reaches everyone around us and invites them to a life of joy and friendship with God.