THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
MEET, LIVE, SHARE CHRIST - 3
January 6, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 4:12-25
The New Evangelization
is founded on the “old” evangelization which is
founded on the mission of Jesus in the world. If we evangelize
according to how God designed everything, then we will be
fruitful, and the rich harvest will be brought in. How indeed
was it according to God’s design?
It starts with the
coming of Jesus into the world, according to the plan of the
Father. The magi sent by the murderous King Herod were guided
by a bright star. The shepherds keeping watch in the darkness
of the night were illuminated by the glory of God shining
around them. Jesus was born, and “the people who sit
in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in
a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (v.16).
We live in a world of sin, death and darkness. But our Savior
has come. He is the light of the world.
Jesus began his public
ministry at age 30. “From that time on, Jesus began
to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand.’” (v.17). Repentance was a turning
away from a darkened world and turning to the light that is
Jesus. Repentance and faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord enabled
entry into the Kingdom of God.
Now Jesus knew that
his work would be continued beyond him. He would accomplish
everything needed to bring salvation to the world, but that
salvation would have to be preached to all. So he called his
first disciples (v.18,21), and he commissioned them, “Come
after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (v.19).
He formed his core group, his team.
Jesus went about his
public ministry. “He went around all of Galilee, teaching
in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.”
(v.23). He basically did three things: (1) formation, (2)
evangelization, and (3) total human liberation. He evangelized,
he catechized, and he did social action.
Jesus came and accomplished
his mission. Now he is back in heaven, leaving his disciples
to carry on with his mission. We are among those disciples,
and we as Catholics have now been called to the New Evangelization.
How should we see this work?
Evangelization is centered on Christ. He is the Savior whom
we proclaim. People need to meet Christ.
This is the first module of our LCSC LCS (actually meet the
three persons of the Trinity). In meeting Jesus, people hopefully
respond to his love. Their response is repentance and faith,
and then living a life in him, manifested in the two great
commandments of love of God and love of neighbor, which sum
up the whole law and the prophets. People need to
live Christ. This is the second module of our LCSC
LCS. Then Jesus commissioned his disciples to become fishers
of men. All of his disciples are to participate in this work.
They are to evangelize. They are to share Christ.
This is the third module of our LCSC LCS.
Jesus went around to all of Galilee, and he cured
all who were sick. Jesus was limited in the extent
of what he could do, since he only had about 3 years and he
only went around on foot and by boat. But just as he went
around all of Galilee, we are to go to all the earth,
to the ends of the earth. Just as he cured all who
were sick, including both physical and spiritual illness,
we are to bring the gospel to everyone. To accomplish this,
the New Evangelization should be rapid, massive and
God provides the grace
and the empowerment. The first disciples of Jesus went on
to be great apostles, leading and expanding the work of the
Church founded by God on the day of Pentecost. The Church
reached the ends of the known civilized world in a few centuries.
The work continued to be massive, such that today 1/3 of the
whole population of the world is Christian, and Christians
are in every nation on earth.
most of those so-called Christians, perhaps up to 99% of them,
are lapsed, nominal, cultural, still in darkness, coopted
by the world, or just not becoming the disciples that Jesus
intends them to be. They need to re-encounter Christ. This
then is the work of the New Evangelization. This then is our
work of LCSC.
Jesus at one time sadly said that the harvest is rich but
the laborers are few. 1/3 of people in the world have met
and have taken on the name of Christ (though for most the
meeting has not been a personal life-changing encounter with
the living Jesus), but not many are living Christ, and even
fewer are sharing Christ. It cannot be this way with us. How
should we respond?
We should respond like
Simon and Andrew and James and John. When called, the first
set of brothers “at once they left their nets and followed
him.” (v.20). For the second set of brothers, “immediately
they left their boat and their father and followed him.”
(v.22). If we truly encounter Jesus, if we truly get to know
him, if we truly desire to live his life, then we should respond
with utter haste, without hesitation, at once, immediately,
even leaving everything behind. Yes we are involved in important
things, such as family (their father Zebedee) and livelihood
(their nets and fishing), which we should not abandon or neglect.
But even of greater importance (or at least of equal importance)
is the call to share Christ, to participate wholeheartedly
in the work of the New Evangelization, to respond to the call
to bring in the harvest, to go into the whole world and proclaim
the gospel to all the nations.
The world is full of
those “who (are) sick with various diseases and racked
with pain, those who (are) possessed, lunatics, and paralytics”
(v.24b). There is mental, physical and emotional illness and
pain in the lives of many. There are those in bondage to sin
and the evil one. There are those crazed with the hedonistic
ways of the world and do not know the ways of God. There are
those paralyzed by fear, apathy, loneliness, helplessness,
despair. To all of them in Jesus’ time, “he cured
Let us do the work of LCSC with determination, zeal, endurance,
perseverance, long-suffering, commitment, and giving our all.
Because of what Jesus did, “great crowds from Galilee,
the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan
followed him.” (v.25). Because of what the Church will
do in response to the call to the New Evangelization, great
crowds will once again follow him.
Let us do our share
through LCSC. Onward to the New Evangelization!