THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
VICTORY AND JOY
Today’s reading: Acts 5:34-42
In our work of evangelization and mission, there will be opposition.
Certainly from the evil one. Certainly from secular forces
in the world. Certainly from anti-life, anti-family, homosexualist
groups. The opposition and persecution can range from simple
ostracism or ridicule to outright physical assault and even
killing. To be an evangelizer is not for the faint-hearted.
It is for someone who passionately loves Jesus and wants his
salvation to be experienced by many others.
realities are helpful to us.
God is on our side and fights for us. We are in spiritual
warfare. It is basically a war between God and Satan, between
light and darkness, between the culture of life and the culture
of death. We are God’s instruments. Jesus has already
won the victory on the cross. We participate in that victory.
Gamaliel had that great insight. “But if it comes from
God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find
yourself fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39). Whoever
opposes God’s people are fighting against Him.
is great comfort to us. If God is for us, who can be against
while the enemy cannot destroy God’s people and their
faith, they are certainly able to inflict pain and suffering.
Even then, we are winners, because to suffer for the cause
of Christ is cause for great rejoicing. We are in a war after
all. We will be wounded and even killed. The One who leads
us himself was tortured and killed. But the suffering and
shedding of blood are what brings victory. Given the privilege
of following in the footsteps of Jesus, given our active contribution
to overcoming the dominion of the enemy, we can only “(rejoice)
that (we have) been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the
sake of the name.” (Acts 5:41b).
We face a formidable enemy, but our God is more powerful and
is already victorious. We face suffering and pain, but these
are God’s means for our purification and effectiveness
in battle, and so are causes for joy. With God there is nothing
more to fear. With joy despite suffering, there is nothing
more to hold us back.
have been given the privilege of doing the work of evangelization
and mission. Let us do so with a passion, giving our all,
rejoicing in all circumstances. “And all day long, both
at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching
and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42).