Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence. That is what we hear in the second reading from Saint Peter. What would you say if someone were to ask you for the reason for your hope? How would you answer that?
First of all, I hope that people would see you as being hopeful – because you have to be hopeful enough in order for people to ask that question. The first thing I would ask is, “Are we hopeful, and do we look hopeful?” The second question I would ask you personally is, “Are you hopeful?” Ultimately, are you hopeful that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that he will raise you up? Are you hopeful that you can receive the Holy Spirit and live in His resurrected life and live without fear? Are you hopeful that you can love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself? Are you hopeful that Jesus can and will free you from your sins?
Third, if someone were to ask you to give an explanation for your hope, could you tell them the reason for your hope? In the business, marketing, and advertising world, there is this thing called an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a quick summary of you and whatever you are passionate about. The idea of an elevator pitch is that if you were to stand in an elevator with somebody, from the time you get in the elevator until the time you get to the top floor could you tell your whole story by the time the doors open again. They say it takes about 30 seconds to get on the elevator, to get to your floor and the doors to open. You get 30 seconds to answer somebody. The idea is that every moment for sales and marketing, but also for us, is an opportunity to sell your product. Marketers do not ever want to miss an opportunity. If they find somebody on an elevator, they are going to talk to them. If they find somebody on the streets, they are going to talk to them. If they find somebody in the car, they are going to talk to them. They are constantly selling and pitching their ideas. You never want to miss an opportunity – no matter how brief.
For us, we do not ever want to miss an opportunity to evangelize. We never want to miss an opportunity to tell people what Jesus is about and what Jesus has done in their lives. Remember, it should be done with gentleness and reverence. We are not supposed to throw our faith on people, but share it with hope and joy.
Just as it is important for the marketing world to have an elevator pitch, they say you have to also have this elevator pitch. You have to know what it is, and you have got to be able to give it in 30 seconds. Even more so, it is important for us as a people of faith to have that. To be able to speak it strongly and clearly to somebody. Saint Peter says, “Always be ready to give an explanation.” Think about the many brief opportunities that you might have to share your faith with people. It could be with the lady at the checkout counter, the person in the drive-through, someone you see coming back from Mass and seems awkward and alone. You could share it with your doctor, your dentist or your hairdresser. It could be your family. Anybody. You are waiting for a Zoom meeting and there are only a couple of people on there. You have 30 seconds to share your faith.
Think about all those different reasons where you can share your hope and imagine that someone would ask you, “What is the reason for your hope?” Can you answer them? What if you were on an elevator and all you have is 30 seconds from the top floor to the bottom floor? Could you tell someone the reason for your hope? I invite you to spend some time reflecting on this. Try talking it out in the car as you are driving. Think of the times that God has come through for you. Think of the challenges you now face, but trust that God will provide. Think of the future and think of it with hope and just try to talk it out loud. Practice it like you are preparing for a speech. The reason for my hope is – and see what words come out of your mouth.
Some people are better with writing, so maybe it would be good for you to write it out. Journal it. They say that 30 seconds is 75 words. Can you get the reason for your hope in 75 words? Can you succinctly put that down into writing? Spend some time before adoration and ask the Holy Spirit to give you that insight and inspiration. Maybe you can ask someone that you know is hopeful. Just ask them, “What is the reason for your hope?” See what they say. After this Mass, ask your family, ask each other, ask your friends. “What is the reason for your hope?” All it has to be is one good thought. Yes, that is the reason for my hope. One thing that God has done in your life that you can say, “Yes, that is the reason for my hope.” Then you will start to think of another and another and another, and before you know it, your hope is going to increase with each and every memory. The more you share your story, the more you will begin to see the hope light up within the eyes of the person you are talking to. Hope is contagious. We all have it. Are you ready to share the reason for your hope?