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(Part 93)


April 12, 2018
Today’s reading: Acts 5:27-33

Our Catholic Church is missionary, but many Catholics have not been doing the work of evangelization. Those who need to be evangelized (or re-evangelized) are Catholics themselves, many of whom are lapsed and nominal. While our Church offers much to the Catholic, what is missing in her work is the very first step in the whole process of evangelization, and that is the proclamation of the gospel. If the first step is missing, how can anything else properly fall into place?

Proclamation of the gospel was what the first Christians did, starting with the apostles, starting with Peter on the day of Pentecost. On this occasion, now before the Sanhedrin, which was prohibiting them from evangelizing (v.27-28), “Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (v.29). And in that short but tense moment, they proclaimed the gospel (v.30-32).

Such proclamation of the gospel is the very thing we do in our Life in Christ Seminar. The content of the gospel message is the same.
Our first talk is on “Jesus the Messiah.” Jesus died for us and is our Savior and Lord. “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.” (v.30).
Our second talk is “Called to Witness.” If we are to live in Christ, we are to love God and neighbor, and by such, witness to the world of God’s love. “We are witnesses of these things” (v.32a).
Our third talk is “Repentance and Faith.” This is the response to Jesus’ saving act, by which we receive forgiveness. “God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sin.” (v.31).
Our fourth talk is “The Gift of the Holy Spirit.” God gives His Spirit to those who put their faith in Jesus, to empower them to live the Christian life. We are witnesses “as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (v.32b).
Then we have a fifth talk on “Growing in the Spirit.” After Peter’s proclamation of the gospel on the day of Pentecost, the Church was born, and provided the tools needed by which God’s people are to grow in the Spirit.

We as God’s people are to proclaim the gospel, in every situation, to everyone. We can expect opposition and even persecution, as was the reaction of the Sanhedrin to the apostles’ proclamation. “When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.” (v.33). Indeed, there have been many martyrs to the faith through the centuries.

To be a martyr is to be a witness. To be a witness is to proclaim the gospel. Let us give our all, even unto death.

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(Part 92)


January 24, 2018
Today’s gospel: Mark 4:1-20

Our task as Christians is to sow the word. “The sower sows the word.” (v.14). Sowing the word is proclaiming the gospel of salvation in Jesus. Proclamation enables people to hear the gospel. Note that in this parable, all 4 kinds of people (on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, on rich soil) hear the word. God wants all to hear the word, so that they can have the opportunity to respond accordingly.

Now for those who hear, responses will be different.

There are those on the path. “As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them.” (v.15b). These are those under the dominion of Satan. They hear the word but reject or do not accept it. Their minds and hearts are closed to the gospel.

There are those on rocky ground. They, “when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” (v.16b-17). These are those who hear and believe, but do not take the steps to enter more deeply into a life in Christ and grow into maturity. They only like the “good news” of blessings but fall away when challenges come, including oppression and suffering. They are unwilling to embrace the cross of Christ.

There are those among thorns. “They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit.” (v.18b-19). These are those attracted to the allures of the world. They cannot let go of worldly pleasures. They are out for power, position and possessions. They choose to serve mammon rather than God. Thus they are unable to bear fruit for the Kingdom.

There are those on rich soil. They “are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (v.20). They are those who meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ.

We are to do the work of evangelization. First we proclaim the gospel so that people will meet Christ. Then we provide formation so that they will live Christ. Then we recruit them as workers so that they will share Christ. Let us pray that the word we proclaim will always land on good soil.

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