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FALL 2022 PREACHING SERIES 6: Disciples Are Witnesses

Today we continue our Fall preaching series on DISCIPLESHIP, the sixth part entitled: DISCIPLES are witnesses.

Disciples tell their story about what God has done for them. Disciples also tell each other the truth about their lives … about their uncertainties, their joys, their doubts, their fears, sorrows and successes. To witness means to have knowledge about a person or an event from personal observation or experience.

What does it mean then, given our faith in Jesus, to be a Christian witness? How and where and when do we talk about knowing Jesus? About loving Jesus? About following Jesus … without sounding like a phony or some kind of a freak?

The Book of Acts explains that the saving message of Jesus was first trusted to an intimate group and then began to spread, as per his instructions. He said to them:

You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Today, we are his witnesses! But, how does this happen when so many of us never, ever even mention his name, except, perhaps in an expletive!?

I know that many of us Catholics struggle to be authentic witnesses to the work of Christ in our lives. And when we struggle and become uncomfortable, sometimes I think we reverse “witnessing” from telling others about our relationship with Christ, to focusing and correcting the shortcomings and sins of others. We become self-appointed judges, or kind of the Catholic police – but that’s not witnessing … it’s not even close!

It’s fascinating to me that evangelical Churches “train” their members how to be witnesses. They coach their congregants on how to tell the story of Christ in their everyday life. Perhaps it’s time for us in the Catholic Church to do the same? Interestingly, one group outlines EIGHT ESSENTIALS FOR INTRODUCING OTHERS TO JESUS CHRIST. Here they are:

1. You must know Christ personally.

2. You must have no unconfessed sin in your life.

3. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

4. You must be prepared to witness.

5. You must pray.

6. You must go to those who need Christ.

7. You must talk about Jesus Christ.

8. You must expect results.

None of those seem to be so foreign to our beliefs and teachings. I might add to the list, that:

· You celebrate the sacraments regularly.