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(Part 69)


November 6, 2015

Today’s readings:
Romans 15:14-21
Psalm 98:1-4
Luke 16:1-8

We are called to the New Evangelization. This is about the most important work that God has given us. This is about the salvation that God already won for us and for the whole world. If and when we do this work, we engage in spiritual warfare. In this we continue with the cosmic struggle against evil forces. We are warriors.

God Himself is a warrior, and a victorious one. “His right hand and holy arm have won the victory.” (Ps 98:1b). God has already defeated Satan on the cross, for all the world to see. “The Lord has made his victory known; has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations” (Ps 98:2). Jesus went to the cross for us, to extend to us his mercy and manifest his faithfulness and love for us. “He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” (Ps 98:3a).

This is what we proclaim. This is the work of evangelization. Jesus died in order to save all. Thus our work is also to reach all the nations, that they might experience God’s mercy and salvation. “All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” (Ps 98:3b).

Now to do the work of evangelization, God established the Church, and in the Church, different groups and ministries. CFC-FFL is one of those, called to be an evangelistic and missionary community. Through the years God has taught us and formed us. “I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.” (Rom 15:14). But this is not just for our own salvation and for the well-being of our own families. We are to share Christ. We are not just to be satisfied that we and our loved ones are now saved and thus secure in Christ. How about the rest of the world?

Some of us seem to have forgotten our mission. Some are too busy in their secular lives. Some are too comfortable, sipping piña coladas at the Country Club. They have to be constantly reminded and pushed to fulfill our calling. “But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you .... to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God” (Rom 15:15a,16a).

Why is our participation important? Because Jesus has commissioned us to carry on his work. We are stewards, both of the work of salvation and also of the money entrusted to us to support that work. Jesus our Master relies on us. Are we reliable? Or will Jesus say to his disciples about him and us, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property.” (Lk 16:1). Will Jesus need to confront us and eventually remove our stewardship? “He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’” (Lk 16:2).

Some of us are like the dishonest steward. He added usurious commissions to what was owed his master. For us, we accept the work God gives us, including the attendant spiritual gifts, grace and empowerment, and then add on our own personal interest, that has nothing to do with proclaiming Christ and promoting his Kingdom. God at some point might just remove our stewardship! What are we to do? We must shed our own personal interests and simply look to the Master’s business (Lk 16:5-7). “And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.” (Lk 16:8a).

Of utmost importance is our work of evangelization, especially now with the call to the New Evangelization. We can grow in holiness, we can strengthen our marriage and family life, but if we do not evangelize, and evangelize massively, then it is not acting as proper stewards. “For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed” (Rom 15:18). The commission is to worldwide evangelization. Like the apostle Paul we are to give our all, “by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum I have finished preaching the gospel of Christ.” (Rom 15:19).

In this work we continue to break new ground, to enter new territories. We are called to mission. “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rom 15:20). Our goal is this: “Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.” (Rom 15:21). This is taken from Isaiah 52:15b, pertaining to the work of the Servant of the Lord to bring the knowledge of Yahweh to the nations. In the same way, Paul was zealous to bring the gospel to the whole Roman empire.

Such is the way to be prudent stewards that will be extolled by Jesus himself. So many Christians are concerned about their own personal well-being and end up neglecting the Master’s work. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” (Lk 16:8b). It is our choice: to be children of this world or to be children of light. Only if we choose to be the latter can we truly boast of what God has made of us. “In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.” (Rom 15:17).

And only then, as the work of worldwide evangelization is done, can we truly rejoice. “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; break into song; sing praise.” (Ps 98:4).

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