".. they recognized them as the companions of Jesus" - Acts 4:13
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." - Mk 16:15

When I first experienced God's personal love for me in a heartfelt way, I was moved to want to "proclaim the Gospel" by reconsidering how I spent the bulk of my days. As firsthand eyewitness to the resurrection and in seeing how their lives were healed and transformed, Peter and John were impelled to share what Jesus taught them. "It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." Like Peter and John, I boldly desired to share this gift I received, this gift of resurrection to live a new life of service and in relationship with God. I thought I could immediately "give it all up" and pursue this new dream. Though I came to realize prayers are not answered with a single, dramatic event but through a gradual, sidewinding process. Eventually, I stop to pause and discover nothing changed from yesterday, but everything has changed since that first real encounter with God's love.

I had grandiose dreams to proclaim the Gospel, but they were not God's dream. My hopes to serve God entailed serving large numbers of nameless faces. These dreams were not from God but from and for my ego. The leaders, elders, and scribes from the first reading recognized Peter and John as the companions of Jesus. Before taking on this new dream, God wanted first to make sure I too would be recognized as a companion of Jesus. The grace from many retreats would always lead back to Jesus' desire to be my friend, a friend to share life with and not a friend to please or to do things for despite the good intentions. In cultivating a friendship with Jesus, His resurrection becomes more real in my life for others to witness and believe. 

How did Jesus want me to start proclaiming the Gospel? By attending to those directly in front of me: my family, close friends, and whoever else I encounter in my day-to-day interactions. Many times, sharing the Gospel entails more listening like a good friend than doing and speaking. How is God calling you to proclaim the Gospel? Would others recognize you as a companion of Jesus?

Dear Friend, help us to believe in your everyday resurrection and to open ourselves to the ways you seek to work through us.

Greg Lontok