THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
SHARING WHAT WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD
Jesus has won for us our salvation. That is the most important
news in the world. And our most important task is to share
that good news, so that others can experience that salvation
as well. And so Jesus issues the Great Commission: “Go
into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
Jesus healed the two blind men and the leper and the deaf
man, he told them not to tell anyone, but all the more they
did so. They of course could not help but share the good news.
So how much more for those who actually witnessed the good
news and were told to share it? Thus, when Peter and John
were ordered by the Sanhedrin not to speak or teach at all
in the name of Jesus, they answered, “It is impossible
for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
was such their posture? Well, their hearts were filled with
overflowing joy for what Jesus had done for them. “The
joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the righteous.”
(Ps 118:15a). If they did not speak of the gospel, their hearts
would burst! And so they simply had to “declare the
deeds of the Lord.” (Ps 118:17b).
Jesus today also tells all who are supposed to be his followers
to proclaim the gospel. Why do most of them do not? It is
because they are nominal Christians. They do not have a real
appreciation of what Jesus has done for them. They are basically
unmindful of this truth: “The Lord, my strength and
might, has become my savior” (Ps 118:14). In other words,
they have not truly met Jesus and experienced the good news
of salvation in him.
and John said they simply needed to speak about what they
had seen and heard. They had no choice but to share Christ
because they had met him and was living his salvation. On
the other hand, nominal Christians have not truly met Jesus
and do not truly know him. What they see is not Jesus but
the enticements of the secular environment around them, and
what they hear is not Jesus’ words but the call of the
flesh and the world. Unfortunately, that is also what they
share with others--not Christ but the human pleasures of life.
For those of us who are not nominal Christians, what can keep
us from sharing Christ? Among other things, it would basically
be lack of faith and hardness of heart. Jesus “rebuked
them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they
had not believed” (Mk 16:14).
comes in different forms:
Not sharing the vision for evangelization.
trusting in the empowerment that comes with the Spirit.
at how difficult it is to evangelize and giving up at the
up on difficult or bad people.
occupied with one’s own agenda and priorities rather
than the priority of proclaiming the gospel.
of heart happens in different ways:
Looking at the lost sheep and not seeing Christ in them
or being unmindful of their need for Christ.
willing to give the time, effort and energy needed to do
being generously supportive of the mission with our financial
self-referential and not open to self-denial or embrace
of the cross.
Now even for those who know and live Christ, in today’s
very humanistic world there could be a challenge to share
Christ. In the western world, Christians are more and more
being prevented by the state from manifesting their faith--from
display of Christian symbols, to refusing to serve same-sex
couples or participating in an abortion, to preaching about
the dysfunction of homosexuality, to openly professing one’s
faith in the workplace. Just like with Peter and John, today’s
modernist states have “ordered them not to speak or
teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18).
aim of the secular humanist state is to suppress religion,
and especially Christianity, and more especially Catholicism.
This is because authentic Christian values are totally opposed
to secular humanist values. Thus there will be state-sponsored
oppression and ultimately persecution, with the aim to weaken
or even to wipe out the faith. “But so that it may not
be spread any further among the people, let us give them a
stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
situation for Christians today is dire. All the more, we need
to evangelize more aggressively. In the face of challenges
and opposition from a secular world, we need to be bold. If
we are authentic Christians who have met and are living Christ,
then we must have no choice but to share Christ. This is for
all, especially the laypeople, including the least among us.
“Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving
them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they were amazed, and
they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.” (Acts
state has legalized abominations such as divorce, abortion
and same-sex unions. But not only have these been legalized,
but the modernist state is imposing these evils upon all,
especially Christians. Not to follow is to invite court suits,
loss of jobs, imprisonment, heavy fines, and the like. The
apostles and disciples would eventually face imprisonment,
flogging and crucifixion. But they would not be dissuaded
from proclaiming Christ. “Whether it is right in the
sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the
judges.” (Acts 4:19).
can Christians endure the persecution that is already upon
us? It is to look to Jesus. “The Lord is with me; I
am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?” (Ps
118:6). Of course mortals can do a lot to us, like kill us.
But such martyrdom is a blessing. “I shall not die but
live” (Ps 118:17a). We will live eternally, which is
precisely the intent of salvation and the message of the gospel.
“Open the gates of righteousness; I will enter and thank
the Lord. This is the Lord’s own gate, through it the
righteous enter. I thank you for you answered me; you have
been my savior.” (Ps 118:19-21).
Have you met Christ? Are you living Christ? Then you must