Some time in April, I attended the seminar entitled "Dialogue of Salvation: Catholics Called to Evangelise" by Permanent Deacon Dr Sherman Kuek. Something he has said affirmed what has been on my mind all these while: the best way to evangelise is by living an exemplary life according to the Gospel values.
That also reminded me of what my Mom did last November.
I have weird neighbours, and my house is sandwiched between them. They are not in good terms with my family (and with some other neighbours as well) for some ridiculous reasons, which I do not want to go into details here. We tried our best not to have anything to do with them.
Last November, the neighbour on our left lost their senior member of the family. They had wake prayers and Buddhist rituals for almost the whole week before the burial service. My Mom was the first to find out what happened. She decided to pay them a visit and offer condolences. When my Dad refused to go with her, she approached me. I was quite surprised when she told me of her intention.
"We are neighbours," said my Mom. "It is only right that we visit them especially at times like this. Let's just bury the hatchet." I agreed. But at the back of my mind, I had a slightly different agenda. It was such a good opportunity to shame that nasty neighbour, by returning evil with good! To make them feel sorry for what they have done to us. If not now, then when?
We went over. They were obviously surprised to see us. While I shook hands with the other family members, Mom went straight to the wife of the deceased and hugged her. I was shocked beyond words. After all the nasty remarks and selfishness towards my family all these years, my Mom could still HUG her?! Her wet eyes proved that she was moved by my Mom.
To me, my Mom is a woman of simple faith. She doesn't know much of what the Church really teaches and anything along that line. But what she did last November truly put her daughter (who always thought she's the most knowledgeable one in the family in matters pertaining to faith) to shame! Mom went there to show her love; I went there to show off!
I believe Mom's profound act of love and mercy has brought that neighbour of ours to an encounter with Christ Jesus.
While knowledge in Apologetics and theology are necessary when we introduce Christ to others [evangelisation], our conduct and daily living speak much louder. "Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:17 ESV). I knew this long time ago! But this "head-knowledge" really needs to go to the heart and be translated into action.
I thank the Lord for such humbling experience. Being knowledgeable and having a better understanding of the faith apparently did not take me very far in my journey of perfection... more work is needed!