19 May 2015
St. Paul did his part. He preached the word Christ gave him to preach, and he followed the Spirit with faith and courage, no matter the trouble that lay in store for him. He loved those he met along the way. And he encouraged and empowered them to do the same. But when it came down to it, St. Paul could really only save one person: himself.
He says to those who hear his preaching: “I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” In other words, he did his part in the Kingdom of God; but what we do with what he gave us is up to us. As much as we are a church, a community of faith, the response we make to Christ’s invitation is up to each one of us.
Each of us is responsible for opening ourselves to Christ present: in Scripture, in our Catholic Tradition, in the vocational calling we have from our Creator. No one can say “yes” to God for us but us. No one can say to God, “Here I am,” except the individual “I,” the individual person.
When St. Paul preaches to us, it’s up to each person to hear and respond. When Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” it’s up to each person to hear and respond. When we ourselves try to preach the Good News of God’s mercy through loving and guiding others, it’s up to them how they will respond. As much as we want our children, our neighbors and friends to know the Christian joy we feel in our hearts, their response to our evangelization is their response. It’s up to them.
Just like St. Paul, all we can do is do our part in the Kingdom. We extend the invitation to follow Christ—and that’s all. When others don’t take us up on the offer, or if they need more time to hear the Lord’s calling in their own hearts, we pray for them. In the meantime, we pray. Just like Jesus who ascends to the Father, but keeps on praying for the good of all.
All we can do in the Kingdom is to do our part; to love God and our neighbor, and to invite others into a life of faith, hope, and charity. How others respond to us—and the Lord—is up to them.