As I prepared to write this column, I experienced an overwhelming feeling to hold off on writing about the next pillar of evangelization until next time.

I had an epiphany as I reflected on my last few parish meetings and recent phone calls with two of my “fellow fishermen” (parishioners who call me to discuss evangelization efforts at their respective parishes). To paraphrase the dictionary, an epiphany is when you experience a striking or enlightening realization that allows you to understand a situation from a new and deeper perspective.

My apologies if my epiphany does not trigger an emotional “Aha” moment or an enlightening realization for you, but remember I am an evangelist and never claimed to be a theologian.

My epiphany is that we, the members of the Universal Church, tend to get caught up in the minutiae of our institution. Let’s focus on the sacred rites, beautiful rituals, and the mystery of our faith, not the politics or bureaucracy. Additionally, our post-Christian society is more concerned about materialism, individualism, hedonism, and increased secularism of our culture. To me, these two situations create the perfect distraction from what we were commanded to do as outlined in Matthew 22: 36-40 when the Pharisee asked Jesus:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

In my opinion, we could simplify our entire mission of being Catholic into five words: “Love God. Love your neighbor.” My perspective on this concept is that — it’s simple, but not easy. We know we need to love God, but worldly desires distract us and can become false gods. We know we should love our neighbors, but sometimes they give us reasons not to or we just don’t make the time. To love your neighbor as yourself may be one of the most ominous requests that Jesus makes to us, but is something we can strive for in every interaction and with each person we encounter.

I pray that we can all re-calibrate our perspective on our fast-paced and hectic lives today. I know for me, celebrating in the beautiful sacraments that our Church provides, especially Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation not only rejuvenate me, but they also remind me how much harder I need to work in following Jesus’ command.

Stay tuned for the next column of Everyday Evangelization when we will move into the second pillar and focus on relationships.

Please contact me with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@rcda.org or by visiting https://www.rcda.
org/evangelization. Also follow on Instagram at tom_rcda.