This text from the First Letter of St Peter, a text that is most often regarded as a baptismal homily or instruction, is one that we should reflect upon often in terms of our commitment to mission. St Peter tells us that proclaiming the Gospel is not an option for a Christian. Of course we can choose to refuse to share our faith with anyone but then not only would our faith be untrue to itself, it would also die! St Peter reminds us here to always be ready to share what we have received with anyone who asks about it.

 

I even think that it is a good idea for us to have a few short testimonials prepared that we can easily draw upon when the right situation arises. It can never hurt to be ready with a short personal testimony or simple Gospel presentation that can be shared in two or three minutes. Peter suggests that at least part of our motivation for doing this will comes from reverencing the Lord Jesus in our hearts. In other words, if we truly treasure the gift of faith and salvation we have received, then we will be well on the way to being motivated to share what we have received with others.

 

St Peter also reminds us that we should speak with gentleness and patience. The Gospel should never be forced upon anyone. By its nature it is a freely chosen gift. We have no right to impose it on anyone. He also reminds us to ensure that we have a clear conscience, that is, that the witness of our lives should be consistent with what we are proclaiming. Ahh, I hear you say, that is very difficult. You are right, it is easy to say something; it is much more difficult to live it! Yet, this is our calling as Christians.

 

Jesus has given us the example of what it means to lay down one’s life in the service of others. Let us do our best to follow his lead.

 

Holy Spirit, you know what I need to be better able to share the Gospel with others. Help me to repent of my sin and so grow in conversion so that the witness of my life will more closely approximate the true meaning of being a disciple of Jesus.