THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
HARDSHIPS IN THE WORK
The call to the New Evangelization can be euphoric. God’s
people can become all excited (I hope so) and be gung-ho about
moving ahead. After all, we fight for a victorious God. But
we really need to be aware that as we plunge into spiritual
warfare, we will be bloodied. The enemy opposes those who
assault his dominion in the world, and especially when our
intent is to help bring people into the kingdom of God.
there is a need to “strengthen the spirits of the disciples
and exhort them to persevere in the faith” (Acts 14:22a).
But strangely, this strengthening and exhortation is done
by saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b). There is
no deception that this work will be easy or comfortable. There
will be many hardships! But this work, being a participation
in the very work of Jesus, is also a participation in going
to the cross. There lies the privilege. We walk the very path
of Christ. And when we walk that path, then we reach heaven
and enter the kingdom of God.
So the work will be hard and challenging. But since we do
God’s work, then He is there for us.
“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger
and abounding in mercy.” (Ps 145:8). Though the
work can be harsh, God is not a harsh taskmaster. He is
mindful of our weaknesses and shortcomings. He takes us
as we are, but continues to grant us the grace to become
Lord is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.”
(Ps 145:9). God only has our well-being in mind, even
as He sends us forth into battle. He appreciates what
we do for Him, even as at times we become the very obstacles
to His work.
Lord supports all who are falling and raises up all who
are bowed down.” (Ps 145:14). God is there in the
difficult moments, even in seeming defeats. He catches
us when we are falling. He fills us when we are empty.
He raises us when we are laid low.
Lord is trustworthy in all his words, and loving in all
his works.” (Ps 145:13b). God promises us His grace,
guidance and empowerment. We can trust in His word. And
even when we face hardships and cannot understand why,
we must always lie secure in His great love for us. He
wants nothing but what is best for us.
We also know that we are destined to enter into eternal life.
That is the ultimate consolation and assurance, as we struggle
through the many hardships. One day, after we have done our
duty, God will welcome us into His eternal embrace. “He
will wipe every tear from (our) eyes, and there shall be no
more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order
has passed away.” (Rev 21:4).
there is one more thing. God calls us as individuals, but
then He also calls us as a body. We are to be a community
of Jesus’ disciples. We are to be an army of the Spirit.
As such, we are called to love one another. We are commanded
to love. Jesus loved us, giving his very life for us. We are
to love those whom Jesus loves. “I give you a new commandment:
love one another.” (Jn 13:34a).
are we to love? We say we love our spouse but fight with her.
We say we love our children but neglect them. We say we love
our brethren but continue to hurt each other. We are to love
as Jesus himself loves. “As I have loved you, so you
also should love one another.” (Jn 13:34b). We are to
love unilaterally, unconditionally, and self-sacrificially.
love not only enables us to be God’s people that will
collectively work as one in the task of evangelization and
mission, but it is also such love that will make us effective
with those we are trying to reach. We are supposed to be witnesses,
and this is a witness of love. How can we proclaim God’s
love to the world, when we might be tearing each other apart?
When we do this, then we betray the gospel and the cause of
Christ. The world will need to see Christ in us, characterized
by our fraternal love. “This is how all will know that
you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus’ glory shone on the cross. “Now is the Son
of Man glorified” (Jn 13:31b). With the New Evangelization,
it is that which we proclaim, so that all the world will give
glory to God. We work such that “God is glorified in
him.” (Jn 13:31c). It is God’s reign and dominion
that we promote, so that all ages will be blessed. “Your
reign is a reign for all ages, your dominion for all generations.”
told the apostles what he told the Jews, “Where I go
you cannot come” (Jn 13:33c). Jesus has gone on ahead
to the Father in heaven. As we live our lives in Christ, enduring
many hardships, doing the work entrusted to us, then we too
will go where Jesus has gone.
a glorious time that will be! “Then I saw a new heaven
and a new earth. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem”
(Rev 21:1a,2a). And we will hear God confirm our status. “He
will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself
will always be with them as their God.” (Rev 21:3b).
Always and forever!
“Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev 21:5b).
Onward to the New Evangelization!