By Josh Berkovsky
Special to The Texas Catholic
A special Diocese of Dallas synod listening session for Young Adults is coming up on Oct. 3. The intention of the synod listening session is to hear the voices of the Church—this one particularly young adults between the ages of 21-35––who are not typically heard, in order to address their needs and invite them to join our community.
Today, I would like to focus on “the power of invitation.” As I reflect upon this theme of inviting others to Christ, I cannot help but ask myself, “Why do we invite?” This is not meant to start this article off with an ambiguous or cliché question by any means, but to challenge you to truly think philosophically about the subject.
Where does the innate desire to invite others originate?
We see the motif of invitation constantly throughout Scripture, especially within the New Testament. An instance that comes to mind is when Jesus gives the disciples the invitation himself to follow him in John 1. “Two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’” (John 1:37-39a)
Come and see. It is Jesus who first extends the invite to us to come and experience what he has to offer. Like the disciples, we are invited initially to encounter the Truth and let it transform our lives. Christ invites us to experience him. This personal encounter gives us the first clue to the initial question regarding the origin of our innate desire to invite. It is when we experience something that we perceive as good that compels us to share it with others.
Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well and after he had revealed himself to her, she joyfully bounds to the Samaritan village to share her experience with them. The first words out of her mouth are, “Come and see.” (John 4:29) Like Jesus inviting the disciples to come and see for themselves, the woman––who after experiencing Christ herself––invites others to come, see, and share in that same experience. The Gospel writer seems to display a pattern: Jesus invites us to come, see, and experience, then we are to invite others to do the same as the woman at the well.
What is the connection between the two passages? We see Jesus first extend the invitation to us, telling us to “Come and see.” Then, like the woman at the well, we are to invite others to come and see Jesus after we experienced the joy of his presence. It is not merely experience that moves us to invite others, but the joy acquired from that experience! It is because of joy that we are so inherently compelled to invite others to share in our experiences. Brothers and sisters, we must take the joy we obtain from community, worship, adoration, Mass, etc. and invite others to come and see for themselves what they are missing.
As Catholics, it is our objective to bring others to the Fullness of Truth i.e., Christ. In order to be that vehicle of transformation for others, we must first possess joy. Without joy, we lack the boldness, excitement, and enthusiasm required to move another’s curiosity to come and see for themselves. Like the woman at the well, Christ uses us as catalysts by helping others in their journey to him. This synod listening session for Young Adults is a perfect opportunity to do just that and assist in the salvation of others by inviting them to be a part of faithful community.
We have the blessing of being able to invite those who are no longer practicing to come experience the community that we cherish with other likeminded Catholics. The synod listening session for young adults will take place on from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 3 at Community Beer Co. Not only should we participate and respect others’ responses, but also invite a friend! In doing so, let us humbly accept our roles and duties as Catholics and joyfully continue to be His hands and feet by inviting others to come and see for themselves what it means to be Catholic.
Josh Berkovsky is the coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Christ the King Catholic Church.