THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
AFFLICTED IN EVERY WAY
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
New Evangelization is a special call. It can only happen if
God’s people put on God’s mind and take on the
proper posture required of God’s instruments. It is
a very challenging call, because it discards the wisdom of
the world and takes on a radical outlook regarding the circumstances
of life and mission. Here is what Paul says:
are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed,
but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9)
When we zealously proclaim the gospel, we will be afflicted
in every way. Why? Because we come against Satan and he will
certainly assault us. Since he has dominion over the world,
he marshals all his forces in this assault, and so we will
even see friends, co-workers and Church leaders join in. There
will be oppression and persecution. But we are not constrained.
We should never give up. We do not allow the enemy to dictate
our actions or our agenda. In fact, when we face intense affliction,
we rejoice in the affirmation that we are being effective
in our mission.
course, when such intense affliction happens, despite our
entreaties for relief from God, knowing that we are doing
what is good as we serve Him, we will at times be perplexed.
We are hard put to understand why God allows us to seemingly
fail, or does not provide for our need or come to our rescue.
We will be troubled. We may even begin to question if we are
doing the right thing. So we may be discouraged, but we are
never driven to despair. To despair is to give up all hope.
To despair is to abandon the work, thinking that no good will
come of it. But we know that we are serving God, that we are
doing what He tells us to do. And we are called to persistence
and perseverance. We know that in God’s time and in
His own way, the victory will be ours.
we are persecuted, but we know that we are not abandoned.
In fact, we realize that such is actually the very way of
God. Jesus too was on a mission, and Jesus too was severely
afflicted and persecuted, to the point when he even cried
out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But God did not forsake him. He suffered death, but on the
third day was raised. The way of God is the way of the cross.
This is why Paul rejoiced in his sufferings. Thus, in the
depths of severe affliction, to the point nearing despair,
we trust in God, we hold on to His promises, we know that
all things will work for our good in the end. We are not abandoned,
but rather, God is always with us, until the end of the age.
the spiritual war we are engaged in, the enemy will strike
us down. We will be bruised and bloodied. We will be down
and out. We will have our face ground to the dust. We will
be laid low. We may even lose our lives. But we are never
destroyed. Our spirituality in fact should increase through
affliction, because we are purified, we cling more tightly
to Jesus, we are humbled and stripped of our human weaknesses,
we trust more in God, we begin to understand the mysterious
workings of the Spirit. And if we lose our lives, then we
have gained it. “For we who live are constantly being
given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life
of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2
is the paradox of the ministry entrusted to us as we are called
to the New Evangelization. We humans do the very divine work
of God. We are entrusted with the great treasure of salvation
in Jesus, “but we hold this treasure in earthen vessels”
(2 Cor 4:7a). We engage in the greatest conflict of the ages,
the war between God and Satan for the souls of people. We
thus need to be greatly aware, not just of being in spiritual
warfare, but of the reality that in this work we are totally
and utterly dependent on God. That is why we need to be afflicted,
not just to have the privilege of walking in the very path
of Jesus, but to keep us humbled and always looking to God,
knowing “that the surpassing power may be of God and
not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7b).
respond to the call to the New Evangelization, with no agenda
but to obey and please God, in order to continue Jesus’
work of salvation, and bring many more back to God. We suffer
for the sake of righteousness. We manifest Jesus’ great
love for God’s people, those that he gave his very life
for. “So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
(2 Cor 4:12).
need never be afraid, whatever affliction awaits us. We simply
put our total faith and trust in God, “knowing that
the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with
Jesus and place us with you in his presence.” (2 Cor
4:14). We keep our eyes on Jesus, especially on Jesus hanging
on the cross. Death is simply the gateway to eternal life.
“I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name
of the Lord.” (Ps 116:13).
we focus on Jesus, then we focus on all the good that we have
experienced from his hands. God is never lacking in generosity.
We must not dwell on our pain or suffering, knowing that even
such affliction is God’s gift to us. “How can
I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me?”
(Ps 116:12). We never look down or backward, but always up
and forward. We know we ourselves have received the gift of
salvation, and now we are given the great privilege of being
God’s instruments for sharing that great treasure with
everyone else. Now that is worth every bit of sacrifice.
us all be able to say, “I kept faith, even when I said,
‘I am greatly afflicted!’” (Ps 116:10).
Onward to the New Evangelization!