ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
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.”
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.
* * *
THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
PARABLE OF THE SOWER
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
for those who hear, responses will be different.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.