THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
A WORK OF THE SPIRIT - 2
Today’s reading: Acts 19:1-8
The work of evangelization is the work of the Holy Spirit.
This is even more crucial now that we are called to the New
asked the disciples in Ephesus, “‘Did you receive
the holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They answered
him, ‘We have never even heard that there is a holy
Spirit.’” (v.2). Today Catholics have heard about
the Holy Spirit, but many do not know His role in evangelization.
Many do not understand the methodology of Pentecost by which
the Church can do rapid and massive evangelization. Many are
unaware of the spiritual gifts provided to the body in order
to effectively do mission.
fact, Catholics receive the Holy Spirit in the sacraments
of Baptism and Confirmation. But for most, their experience
falls short of the fullness of God’s intent for His
people. They in effect undergo “the baptism of John.”
(v.3b). Paul describes this as follows, “John baptized
with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe
in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
(v.4). Thus people are led to repentance and to faith in Jesus.
But that is just the first step. Unfortunately for many, instead
of building up from that, it often is downhill from then.
there is more. It is the baptism in the Spirit. “And
when Paul laid his hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon
them” (v.6a). While we do receive the Spirit in the
sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, there is a need for
an adult experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Such
baptism in the Spirit also confers spiritual gifts (different
from the traditional 7 gifts of the Spirit), by which God’s
people can more effectively do the work of evangelization
and mission. Thus, “they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”
(v.6b). Where in the Church today, aside from charismatic
renewal, do we use the gifts of tongues and prophecy, aside
from the other gifts conferred by the Spirit?
baptism in the Spirit is critical to effective and fruitful
evangelization. This is so God’s people can speak “boldly
with persuasive arguments about the kingdom of God.”
(v.8b). This was the way after Pentecost. This is the way
for the New Evangelization.