John 3:16

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”   This verse is perhaps one of the most familiar verses in the New Testament.  During the 1970’s born-again Christians started holding John 3:16 signs at sporting events.   In 2009 it was well publicized when quarterback Tim Tebow wore eye black with the inscription, “John” under one eye, and “3:16 “under another.  A few weeks ago it was once again brought to our attention when it was revealed that Aaron Hernandez had written it on his forehead before taking his life.


So why would anyone hold a sign that contained a bible verse at a sporting event?  And why did Tim Tebow wear it under his eyes, and why would Aaron Hernandez write it on his forehead?  Well, I’m not sure why Aaron Hernandez wrote it on his forehead (God bless his soul), but I think it’s pretty evident that the other two reasons were to evangelize!  Most Catholics are not good at evangelizing.  Many of us feel uncomfortable sharing our faith.  But how will they know, who will tell them, if not you or I?  Now I don’t think it’s necessary to stand on street corners with signs, but I do think we can do a much better job than we’ve been doing.  So how can we begin? 


First of all, do you remember the scripture that tells us before Jesus was scourged and crucified, he told his disciples that once he had ascended to the Father he would send us an advocate to help us (John 14:17)?   Well, that advocate is the Holy Spirit!   We have all heard a lot about the Father, and Jesus, but what about the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit?   I really did not know the Holy Spirit until about 15 years ago, and I spent my life at Holy Ghost Parish!  I’m sure the Holy Spirit was mentioned many times, but I never really gave it much thought.  The Holy Spirit is powerful!  There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:  Wisdom, understanding, counsel (right judgement), fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.  We can begin by praying to the Holy Spirit, and asking Him to provide us with the gifts we need to carry out His will for our lives and the world. 


One of the most powerful ways to evangelize is simply by the way we treat other people, and the way that we live our lives.  St. Francis had it right when he claimed “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words”.   When Tim Tebow put that scripture verse under his eyes, I’m sure he never imagined that 94 million people would google it!  Who knows how many people came to know Jesus Christ that day.  If we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and in us, great things can happen.  Come Holy Spirit! 


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