The Greek verb used for “offering a reason” is where we get the word apologetics (and also the word apology). Quite often Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, see apologetics as the tools that will enable us to win the argument. However, I think we are misunderstanding what St. Peter is telling us.
He tells us to be prepared to offer a reason. He does not tell us to go out looking for the opportunity to engage in debate. His advice is that we be prepared to offer reasons for our hope.
Allow me to explain what is implied here. We must live our lives in hope. We must be lights to a world that has embraced the culture of death. We must live like people who believe in the Resurrection. We must be people of joy and peace.
When we live as true disciples of Christ we will stick out like sore thumbs, or maybe more appropriately as the few people without sore thumbs. People will be attracted to our peace and joy and will want to know where they can find it.
When we tell them about Jesus and what He has done for us they will have a host of questions, and each person will have a slight variation of those questions. Peter exhorts us to be prepared to offer the reason for our hope in Jesus. How is it that we can believe that He really lived, really was God, really died for my (our) sins and really was raised from the dead to demonstrate His Lordship even over death?
The Archdiocese of Mobile offers an Apologetics series that I think is well worth your time. It is offered on the first Wednesday of the month at St. Bartholomew Parish in Elberta, the third Wednesday of the month at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Mobile and the fourth Wednesday of the month at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Chastang. Please check out the website of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life for more details, www.mobilefaithformation.org
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at email@example.com
For more information concerning the events of this office, visit us at mobilefaithformation.org