THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS
December 7, 2019
Today’s gospel: Matthew 9:35-10:8
The New Evangelization is a return to the old, as we have
lost the basic principles that allowed the Church to do rapid,
massive and worldwide evangelization. Our Church today is
more of maintenance rather than mission. But the defining
characteristic of our Church is that it is missionary. In
this, we need to rediscover what worked in the past, given
such neglected elements today as the call to repentance and
metanoia, the baptism in the Spirit, the need for holiness,
the empowerment of the laity, the engagement in spiritual
warfare, and the sense of utmost urgency.
is Jesus who commissions us to do the work of evangelization,
and so it is Jesus to whom we turn for understanding about
our mission. What are important aspects of the work of Jesus?
it is doing what Jesus himself did. He was “teaching
in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.” (v.9:35b). This
is about the work of forming God’s people, the work
of evangelization, and the work of total human liberation.
since it is the very work of God done through us, then we
as His instruments are delegated His authority. “Then
he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over
unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease
and every illness.” (v.10:1). We go forth in the name
of Jesus and in the power of his Spirit. We must be bold,
forceful and unafraid.
as God loves His people and Jesus came to save them, it is
recognizing the dire situation of people in the world today,
the vast majority of whom are lost and neglected in their
spiritual lives. Many Catholics are lapsed. Jesus suffered
a great deal to bring salvation to people, but may today are
unsaved. They are in dire need of God’s mercy and deliverance.
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with
pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like
sheep without a shepherd.” (v.9:36).
since 99 of the 100 sheep are lost and have to be reached,
the work is to be massive, intending to reach all. “Jesus
went around to all the towns and villages” (v.9:35a).
Though churches in the Third World continue to be filled at
Masses, the vast majority of Catholics are simply not there.
We cannot just expect these Catholics to come to church; we
need to go and seek them out in the grassroots at the peripheries.
since there are so many to be reached, there is a need for
more workers. “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The
harvest is abundant but the laborers are few’”
(v.9:37). Those laborers start with those still in the pews.
But they have to be given a new vision, from maintenance to
as every disciple of Jesus is a potential worker, every disciple
is indeed called to participate in the work. No one is excluded,
as long as that person turns to Jesus and responds to his
call. Among his first apostles were fishermen (Simon, Andrew,
James, John), a tax collector (Matthew), a political zealot
(Simon the Cananean), a thief (Judas Iscariot) (v.10:2-4).
What then are we to do? This is why we are called Missionary
Families of Christ. We are missionary. We are to focus, not
just on family renewal, but on doing the very mission of Jesus.
We start with ourselves. Every MFC member has to embrace the
community vision and mission. Every member is an evangelizer.
We continue to “ask the master of the harvest to send
out laborers for his harvest” (v.9:38), but it starts
since the work is so vast, and since our Church also needs
to rediscover her missionary identity, then we have the Live
Christ Share Christ (LCSC) mission. The intent of LCSC is
to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization, to be able to reach
everyone, up to the ends of every town and village, to the
very ends of the earth.
Catholic Church is the one true Church, but she herself has
been weakened, and we continue to lose Catholics by the day.
In order to evangelize the world, we need to re-evangelize
the lost sheep of our Church. This was the strategy of Jesus
himself. “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a
Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel.” (v.10:5-6). Then from Jerusalem, on to Judea
and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
is God’s free gift to the Church, given through MFC.
By the mercy and grace of God have we been saved. We met Christ,
are striving to live Christ, and need to share Christ. Thus
we simply serve, without any personal or community agenda,
without necessarily promoting MFC, with not necessarily recruiting
into our community (we of course do that too), giving our
programs free of charge, not expecting stipends when we serve
parishes and dioceses. “Without cost you have received;
without cost you are to give.” (v.10:8b). The work we
do is our responsibility and our privilege.
The work we do is spiritual work. The primary goal is the
salvation of souls, even as we also look at the material and
emotional needs of people, especially the poor. Thus we are
to “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive
out demons.” (v.10:8a).
work is intended to bring Catholics into an intimate relationship
with Christ, filled with the grace of God and empowered by
the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, as we are just pilgrims here
on earth, we want all to make it to heaven. Thus we move forward,
and “as you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom
of heaven is at hand.’” (v.10:7).