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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
(Part 95)

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PAUL


May 15, 2018

Today’s readings:
Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-21
John 17:1-11


The most important work of the Church, which is a missionary Church, is evangelization, which is the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus. Salvation is ultimately about the final destination of our souls. Will physical death lead to eternal life? Here is the reality: “Our God is a God who saves; escape from death is the Lord God’s.” (Ps 68:21). Salvation is only in Jesus.

This was the very reason Jesus was sent by the Father to the world, “so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.” (Jn 17:2b). Jesus did was he was sent to do, and by so doing, gave glory to the Father. “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.” (Jn 17:4). Done with his work on earth, Jesus returned to heaven. “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” (Jn 17:11a). Jesus desires that Christians remain rooted in God, to be found worthy when he returns, and thus make it to their eternal home. “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (Jn 17:11b).

How can this happen? The task of evangelization has now been assigned to us by our Lord. We are to follow in the footsteps of that great evangelist and missionary, Paul, who said to God’s people, “I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” (Acts 20:27). How are we to go about this work? Just like Paul:

  • In humble service to God. “I served the Lord with all humility” (Acts 20:19a). In this work we are destined for greatness, but only the truly humble will the Lord raise to heights of greatness.
  • In endurance of suffering. “I served the Lord …. with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews” (Acts 20:19b). In this work we face a formidable enemy, as we are engaged in spiritual warfare. War means suffering. We need to endure.
  • With boldness in proclaiming the truth. “I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit” (Acts 20:20a). In this work we proclaim Christ, in all his glory, but also in what he demands of his followers.
  • In all circumstances and places. “I did not at all shrink …. from teaching you in public or in your homes.” (Acts 20:20b). In this work we look for any and all opportunities to proclaim Christ.
    To all peoples. “I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:21). In this work we seek to bring any and all people to Christ.
    In obedience to the Spirit. “But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.” (Acts 20:22a).In this work, as obedient disciples, we go where the Spirit leads us, in complete obedience and surrender.
  • Trusting fully on God. “What will happen to me there I do not know.” (Acts 20:22b). In this work we trust in God’s provident care, in His protection, in His complete provision, in His empowerment.
  • Ready to face hardships. “…. in one city after another the holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.” (Acts 20:23). In this work we embrace our crosses with great joy.

Our lives belong to God. Indeed, we have life, and we look to eternal life, only because of Jesus. But there are many others who do not know Christ. It is our task to make him known. We have been chosen and called by Jesus himself. We are to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. There is no more important work than the work of evangelization. It is worth our all. “Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24).

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