Exactly one year and one week ago, I started my retreat from the dangerous territory of obesity. Endangered by deteriorating health and my shameful physical condition, I was pretty desperate to do something. I was fed up with common opinions and urban myths that turned out to be useless. So the first step was finding someone who could help me. I watched a 60-minute TV documentary and it was a kind of revelation. From the very next morning I started following what I’d learnt. Sometimes doing better, sometimes worse, I kept to the routine. Several weeks later people around me started noticing the change. Some of them courageously asked me about it. A further several weeks later I noticed that some of them started losing weight too.
There is young Samuel in the first reading who doesn’t know God although he serves in the temple. There are two young men in the gospel looking for the Messiah; one of them is Andrew. Samuel is being called by God, but doesn’t recognize him; the two disciples see Jesus passing by, but they don’t recognize him. God is at their fingertips; but none of them is able to recognize him. Fortunately there is someone more experienced beside them to give them a clue: the priest Eli to Samuel, and John the Baptist to Andrew and his friend. However neither Eli nor John gives a full explanation or interpretation; this belongs to Samuel and the two men.
To shorten the sermon let me leave Samuel here and concentrate on Andrew and his friend. Stirred by John the Baptist’s words they follow Jesus to find out more. When approached by him they express their desire and are invited: ‘Come and see’. Their meeting has to be so life-changing an experience that the very next morning Andrew tells his brother Simon Peter and finally takes him to Jesus.
Sometimes you might get frustrated when you see your children, spouse, relatives or friends losing their faith or abandoning the church. Many parents ask themselves: ‘What have we done wrong that our children have lost their interest in religion?’. Sometimes people desperately try to convince their loved ones to go to church, hoping that a priest can change their attitude; sadly it usually doesn’t work. Personally I suppose, after hearing my sermons more people have stopped going to church than have returned to it.
I believe there’s only one way of convincing people about God and Christianity. If my lifestyle does not help people to find God, then none of my words can do it. We live in a world of words, but rarely are they followed by those speaking them. The banking system, political life, sexual abuse in the church, divorces, and recently the implants scandal – these are only a few examples of broken promises and empty words. Nowadays people don’t need words; they long for truth and honesty. People want to see outstanding individuals and to follow the pattern they live.
If you want to bring others to Jesus, you have to ask yourself whether your lifestyle attracts them or not. Your task is actually pretty simple: show by your life that God is good. And let your family members and friends make their own choice.