THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.