THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
COMMISSIONED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL – 13
May 15, 2019
Today’s reading: Acts 12:24-13:5
In the commission to preach the gospel, all Christians are
to become evangelizers, and some Christians are to become
missionaries. Missionaries are those sent off to foreign lands,
though mission could also be done to places within a particular
nation, or even to towns and parishes in a particular territorial
area. Thus as missionaries, Barnabas and Saul “proclaimed
the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.” (v.13:5a).
sends off missionaries? It is both the Holy Spirit and the
Christian community. Barnabas and Saul were “sent forth
by the holy Spirit” (v.13:4a) but also by the church,
as leaders “laid hands on them and sent them off.”
(v.13:3b). The Holy Spirit speaks to God’s people as
they are docile while “worshiping the Lord and fasting”
(v.13:2a). The Spirit speaks through prophets, as “there
were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers”
What are important learnings for us here, especially for us
as an evangelistic and missionary community?
the Holy Spirit is the agent of evangelization. Apart from
the guidance and power of the Spirit, we would not be able
to accomplish what God intends. Unfortunately, in the Church
today, the Holy Spirit is the unknown or unappreciated Person
of the Trinity. Further, the methodology for the New Evangelization,
derived from the Pentecost experience of God’s people,
is not lived out. So unless we appreciate these, evangelization
in our Church will continue to be weak. We must know the Holy
Spirit and His methods, be docile to His ways, and go forth
in His power.
the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the Christian community in
order to provide what is needed for the work of evangelization
and mission. Thus there are, among others, prophets and teachers.
But the spiritual gifts (not the traditional seven gifts of
the Spirit but rather the charismatic gifts) imparted by the
Spirit are today not appreciated much in the Church. When
was the last time someone spoke in tongues in a Church assembly?
Where do we hear prophets speak? But if the Holy Spirit speaks
to God’s people through prophets, but prophecy is not
appreciated nor encouraged, then how do the people hear the
guidance of the Spirit, in particular for mission?
we must be a holy people, as we pray, worship, and fast as
appropriate. The work given to us is divine work, the very
work of God, the very reason for the sacrifice of Jesus on
the cross. We must be docile to the Holy Spirit. Holiness
and docility enable us to hear the Spirit of God speak to
us, as the Spirit said to the church in Jerusalem, “Set
apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have
called them.” (v.13:2b).
And the result? It is that “the word of God continued
to spread and grow.” (v.12:24).