Monday 16 February 2015

Wednesday of the 6th Week of Easter

Versatility in using different approaches in preaching the Good News is needed if we are to be effective witnesses. We cannot use a one style fits all approach, since different people, different groups and different cultures would require different approaches and methods. For example, the way we teach children about faith would be quite different to the way we teach youth or adults. Even among these different groups, some individuals may require more effort and time to help them grow in faith. The question is: are we patient and persistent enough to help others grow in faith according to their abilities?

In today's reading, we come across Paul who used a more intellectual approach to stimulate the minds of the people of Athens, since these people were always on the look out for new ideas, new philosophies and things which involve the intellect. By using the intellectual approach, Paul was able to rouse the curiosity of some of the people of Athens and some even became believers, as the reading tells us: "At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides." Also, in the Gospel, Jesus said: "I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come." Notice that Jesus did not shove everything down the throats of His disciples at one go. Instead, He taught them bite sizes, so that they would be able to grasp what He was saying, as His disciples required an approach quite different to the approach used by Paul on the people of Athens.

When we encounter different people, let us learn from the example of Jesus and St. Paul, and share the Good News to others using different ways. Sometimes we may find that one way works and another does not, depending on the situation, and we should be flexible and humble enough to change methods. Ultimately, how effective we are in preaching the Good News depends on how willing we are to change and let God guide us in our efforts.

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