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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
(Part 116)

COMMISSIONED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL – 19


June 8, 2019
Today’s readings: Acts 28:16-31


Christianity started as a small sect in Judaism. During the time of Paul, the posture of many Jews was this: “We know that this sect is denounced everywhere.” (v.22b). Today, Christianity is not only mainstream but is the dominant religion in the world, with 1/3 of the world’s population being Christian (at least in name).

But the denunciation and persecution remain. Christians (authentic Christians, that is) are beset from all sides: from Islamic radicals, Hindu fundamentalists, Christian liberals and progressives, totalitarian state governments, bureaucrats of international bodies (such as the UN and the EU), anti-life groups, LBGT advocates, fake news media, born-again Christians, sects, cults, and even Catholic priests and nuns (the enemy within). Beset from all sides!

We must not only survive this but thrive. As a missionary Church, we have much work to do to bring Christ to every person! Thus, we are to be like that great apostle Paul, as “with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.31). Paul was a prisoner and seemingly down and out, but no, he stood strongly for the faith and the work of evangelization. He preached the gospel with conviction and without hindrance, even as he was physically hindered. Indeed, as he avers, “it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.” (v.20b).

We are to preach the gospel with similar zeal. We are to witness to Jesus. We are to devote our time and energy to this divine work. “From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets.” (v.23b). There is no greater work for the Church.

The task is difficult and challenging. The soil is hard. “Some were convinced by what he had said, while others did not believe.” (v.24). But the fruit is up to God. We are just to preach the gospel. The gospel is God’s gift. If people “hear with their ears and understand with their heart” (v.27d), then God will act, as they will “be converted, and I heal them.” (v.27e). The greatest healing is salvation.

So we are commissioned to proclaim the gospel. Let us be confident that God’s word is living and effective, and just preach it. “Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” (v.28).

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