By Kyle Vermette
This past month I travelled throughout Europe with only a backpack and my passport on hand. I was challenged a solo traveler to step out of my comfort zone and encounter new people. Each new person I met was an opportunity to meet Christ whether it was a bartender at the pub, a homeless individual, a crazed Euro Cup fan, or someone in the hostel I was staying at. In today's Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus challenges the apostles to step out of their comfort zone to proclaim the Good News. I found asking myself an important question:
What are the limits of my faith sharing comfort zone?
In the Gospel, Jesus challenges his disciples to begin spreading the Good News on their own. Jesus has already asked the disciples to follow him wherever He goes, yet now He asks the disciples to continue to spread the word of His Father without Him physically present.
He believes they are ready to take the next step out of their comfort zone.
When I reflect upon the Gospel today, I begin to think about the disciples. What was going through their minds when Jesus challenged them to step out of their comfort zone? Were they questioning their readiness to proclaim the Good News? Were they scared, overwhelmed, and unprepared? Were they unsure if they knew enough about God? Were they fearful of not having the right answers? I think it would have been extremely challenging to be in their place.
The disciples who relied so heavily on Jesus to guide their every move were basically asked to jump in the deep end and start swimming.
People who know me would say that I am a very social guy. I enjoy having deep conversations with almost anyone I encounter. As I travelled country to country, I began to learn that my comfort zone relied on people who are like me--those who could speak English. Having meaningful conversations isn't much of a challenge when you find people who speak the same language, but attempting to communicate through French, a language that I am out of practice--is quite difficult.
I was too concerned on how I would sound to other people instead of allowing God to work through me to let it happen.
I was also concerned that I would not be able to share my faith journey properly and that I would disappoint God for my lack luster effort abroad. I feared I would disappoint God by not knowing the right words to speak in French to share my faith with others. I feared others would ignore me because I wasn’t fluent in their language. Instead of falling victim to my fear, I decided to confront it and do my best to speak French with these new friends.
As I began to speak French, I noticed the patience others had
when I would share part of my story and faith journey. The people I encountered and I were able to share a special experience despite my confidence in how I was articulating the message in a different language. I believe the patience these people showed is similar to what the disciples encountered when their shared their faith. I don’t believe it matters if we had the perfect words to describe our faith, what was truly important was the positive message of Christ’s love that we were sharing.
Although my experience is different than the disciples I hope I can fully step out of my comfort zone in my everyday life. For me this means having quality conversations with every person I encounter, being confident in spreading the love of God even in places of disagreement, and hearing where others are coming from so that I can see what it is like to be in their shoes.
Like the disciples, I need to gain the confidence from Jesus.
I need to listen to Him when He says “Kyle, you are ready to spread the Good News. Do not to be afraid.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kyle is a student at King's University College studying Catholic Studies. He plans on getting his Masters in Divinity with the hopes of working with campus ministry or a non-profit organization. Kyle is a big fan of sports, karaoke, travel, personal fitness challenges and learning more about the lives of the saints.