Paul . . . found some disciples

Try calling to someone across a field on a windy day, and you’ll find that the wind interferes with your ability to make contact.   All that swirling air muffles your words.   If you want to be heard, you need to come close enough for the other person to actually hear you.

Just as coming close to someone helps with all communication, it’s also an essential step in reaching out to someone with the love of Jesus.

The apostle Paul knew this firsthand.   He spent years traveling from town to town so that he could be close to as many new believers as possible—people like the group he found at Ephesus in today’s first reading (Acts 19:1).   These disciples of John the Baptist hadn’t yet heard about Jesus’ resurrection or his gift of the Holy Spirit.   Their hearts were in the right place, but they needed someone like Paul to come close to them, pray with them, and take the time to share what he knew in order for them to take the next step in faith.   They needed his presence and his personal touch to help them grasp what John meant when he called Jesus the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29).

It’s not so different today.   There are many different philosophies and religious ideas out in the world.   There are so many distractions in the media and so many demands on people’s lives.   Imagine how effective an encounter with sincere, loving followers of Jesus can be in cutting through all that interference.

You can be that connection.   Believe it or not, you have much to offer people, starting with the witness of your own story.   It’s only a matter of taking time to draw near as Paul did. And you don’t always have to say anything!   Offering to mow a neighbor’s lawn, meeting fellow parishioners after Sunday Mass, listening to a troubled friend—these are only a few ways to reach out.

The world is a busy, noisy, windy place, but you have a message that is powerful and moving.   Never doubt that the witness of your life and the story of your journey can touch people’s hearts and bring them closer to the Lord.

Word Among Us