THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
CALLED TO MISSION
Today’s reading: Acts 12:24-13:5
The first missionary journey began in Cyprus, when Barnabas
and Saul, “sent forth by the holy Spirit, went down
to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.” (Acts
13:4). Here we see two very crucial aspects of the work of
evangelization, which many in the Church have already lost
sight of. The call to the New Evangelization is actually a
call to the old way of doing mission, according to God’s
the Church is a missionary Church. She exists to do mission.
If she is not doing mission, then she has lost the rationale
for her existence. But how many Catholics, bishops, priests,
religious, Catholic groups and parishes actually have a missionary
mindset? Most are focused on those who are already in the
Church. Thus “there were in the church at Antioch prophets
and teachers” (Acts 13:1a). Prophets and teachers are
crucial for the ongoing guidance and formation of God’s
flock, but even more important are apostles, those who are
sent. Such is the hierarchy of importance as God has designated
it (see 1 Cor 12:28a).
New Evangelization is a call to recover this most basic aspect
of the life and mission of the Church and of God’s people.
They are to go forth to “proclaim the word of God”
and this is crucial, it is the Holy Spirit who sends God’s
people off on mission. “While they were worshiping the
Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for
me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
(Acts 13:2). The Holy Spirit is the agent of evangelization.
But how many Catholics really know the Holy Spirit? We are
not talking of an intellectual knowledge, but of an intimate
one received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? If not, where
would the empowerment for mission come from (see Acts 1:8)?
Is one aware of the charismatic gifts, precisely given by
the Spirit to the individual members of the body of Christ
in order to equip them for mission (see 1 Cor 12:1,4-11)?
If not, how can the body be effective in doing mission? Has
one experienced the spirituality that comes with the Holy
Spirit, the very spirituality of Pentecost (see Acts 2:4)?
If not, how can the Spirit truly form God’s people into
bold, God-fearing, committed, passionate soldiers for the
cause of Christ?
are called to be evangelizers and missionaries. Now we are
called to the New Evangelization. God has provided everything
needed for the task. We just need to understand what God is
doing, and give generously of ourselves. With the New Evangelization,
with the proper understanding and living out of being missionary
and being instruments of the Holy Spirit, then God’s
work will flourish. Just as then, so will it be today, as
“the word of God continued to spread and grow.”