From the Vine ~ Prepare the Way, Be a Witness
By Crystal Crocker
Returning from work exhausted, I plopped down on the sofa and clicked on the evening news. The drone of sad and shocking stories gave a sinking feeling of a world that is lost. Lost in a wilderness without God. Darkness seemed to envelop everything and everyone in it. I reached for the remote to change the channel but stopped just as I heard someone say, “I became a Catholic.”
The woman, a nationally-known political analyst, beamed as she reported receiving the sacraments and entering the Catholic Church. Enthusiasm oozed, as she radiated light that transcended the television screen. I was stunned that in our politically-correct world, a national news show would allow one of their analysts to share their new Catholic faith on live television. Most shocking was that she was a former atheist who first became an Evangelical, and then on October 10th of this year became a Catholic. The sacramental image of baptismal water being poured on her head flashed on the screen as proof! She ended by giving thanks to the priest who had given spiritual guidance through her journey.
And just like that. A light shot through all of the world’s darkness.
On this day, the second Sunday of Advent, we hear in the gospel of a light shooting through the darkness. We hear it from John the Baptist who cried out to a brood of vipers:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Like John, we are called to be a light and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ to all those we meet. It is our baptismal responsibility and mission as Catholics. But how are we to do that when the world may feel like a brood of vipers? How can we be a witness in a politically-correct world that seeks to push us out of the public square and confine us to the pew?
The answer can be found in the example of St. John the Baptist, who showed sacrificial love, true humility and faith.
Love Jesus, and I mean really love Him! John loved Jesus so much that he told all of his friends to leave him and follow Jesus. He even sacrificed himself while proclaiming the truth to the very end. Only the love of Jesus Christ has the power to change hearts and heal the soul. This is the most important gift a witness can share, the love of Jesus to others. We cannot give what we do not have ourselves … and so love Jesus with all of your heart, mind and soul. Be with Him every day as you would be with an intimate friend. Love Him so much that His light can’t help but shine through you to another … and then love them, too!
Practice true humility. John said he was not even worthy to carry Jesus’s sandals which was the job of the lowest servant. A true witness guards against self-love and seeks a humble heart. Make an examination. Are you content in being second, living a simple life in the background? Or do you seek to advance yourself in family, work or Church through acknowledgements and fame? A true witness does not preach, teach or save anyone out of pride and acknowledgement. They keep Jesus as the focus and point to Him as the Hero, while always remaining a humble vessel of His love.
Live with faith. John proclaimed that Jesus would come. He had great faith that he was doing what God called him to do and he never wavered. Even after he knew Jesus had come and baptized Him, he did not stop what he was doing but continued to point to Jesus. A witness continues to live with faith as light in a dark world. The greatest faith is to be a witness and never know what your work might have done, trusting that God is doing the real work with His grace.
Do not be afraid to take the opportunity to speak the truth about Jesus to anyone. You never know what God will do! Some day you may hear someone say, “I became a Catholic,” just like Kirsten Powers, political analyst and former atheist who is now Catholic.
References to Kirsten Powers becoming Catholic:
About the Author:
Crystal Crocker is a wife, mother of four and lifelong Catholic with a zeal for evangelization. Her heart is set on love, joy, and the spiritual battle to win souls. She has led numerous Bible studies and women’s groups, been a lobbyist defending marriage, and chaired a Catholic celebration for 7,000 on-fire Catholics. She currently is the Evangelization Coordinator in the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
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