by Father Andrew Strobl
On March 12, Pope Francis tweeted something that anyone concerned with evangelization should ponder: “Beware of getting too comfortable! When we are comfortable, it’s easy to forget other people.”
When I read that tweet, I had to chew on it. It seemed that the Holy Father was speaking directly to me. I am constantly challenged to deny myself in order to be more focused on Jesus and my neighbor.
For instance, when I have to experience the longing of hunger voluntarily in fasting, I become a little more sensitive to my neighbor who is hungry. When I am well-fed and content, I am less likely to think of my neighbor who doesn’t have enough to eat.
If this is true in regard to the needs of the body, it makes sense to continue to chew on the Holy Father’s tweet in light of the soul as well: “Beware of getting too comfortable! When we are comfortable, it’s easy to forget other people.”
When it comes to evangelization, being comfortable is deadly. It is too easy to fall into spiritual sloth. We can become satisfied with our prayer life, our service and even our efforts to invite others to Christ if we are focused on ourselves.
However, when it comes to the church’s mission to evangelize every nation and person, the desire of Jesus — not our own comfort — should be our guide.
We are disciples of a God who “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). Our mission is to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).
If we become comfortable in regard to evangelization, we can forget other people. We can hesitate, grow lukewarm and even become apathetic. Instead, our motivation should be based on the desires of Jesus over our own limited desires.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta described the love of Jesus in her reflection, “I Thirst for You.” Taking the perspective of Jesus on the cross, she wrote: “All your life I have been looking for your love — I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to me, right now, more than you ever have before.”
That is the motivation of the church to evangelize — to make the love of Jesus known to every heart and invite a response. However, our desires can grow weak and strained. We can get too comfortable.
Instead, let us all ask Jesus to replace our comfortable hearts with his sacred heart that is on fire with love for other people.