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(Part 59)


January 15, 2014
Today’s gospel: Mark 1:29-39

We learn how to go about the New Evangelization from Jesus himself.

When I speak about rapid and massive evangelization, some are already defensive. What will it take from me (rather than what will it bless me with)? Might I neglect family and livelihood (rather than seeing that if you honor God then He provides richly for you)? So here we see that Jesus, wide work that he was doing, being pressured to do more and reach out to more and go to more places, did not neglect the home front. He went to the house of his disciple Simon and healed his mother-in-law (v.29-31). Let me tell you, when you do not neglect your mother-in-law, then you will not neglect your spouse and children (I am being facetious)!

Second, since we are in spiritual warfare, our primary weapon is prayer, guidance from God, putting on the armor of the Spirit. Many go off to war unprepared or unequipped, and so suffer the consequences, including defeat. Jesus, busy and pressured as he was, did first things first. “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” (v.35). We too need to communicate and get instructions from our Commander-in-Chief first, each and every day, first activity of the day.

Third, what did Jesus do? He was “preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.” (v.39). He preached, that is, he proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom. Then he liberated people from the oppression of the enemy, often manifested in being “sick with various diseases” (v.34a). He “drove out many demons” (v.34b), that is, actual demons that inhabited or possessed people, but also the demons of fear, mistrust, despair, pride, lust, greed, and so on.

We too are called to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. In this way, people meet Christ and start to get to know him. Then we work with people and point out the way of the true Christian life. They start to live Christ. then those who are starting to live Christ will also share Christ. Every person is called to be a disciple of Jesus. And every disciple is called to be an evangelizer. The disciples “brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.” (v.32). We help bring people to Jesus, who is the one who heals them, liberates them, and saves them.

Jesus is the one everyone needs. Those of us who are Christians, who are supposed to be his disciples, should enter more deeply into his life. “Simon and those who were with him pursued him” (v.36). Then we should present him to others so that their lives would also be touched, just like ours. By our zealous work, we should be able to tell Jesus, whenever we pray first thing in the day, “Everyone is looking for you.” (v.37). Then we will hear him say to us, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.” (v.38). This time it is not he who preaches but us, or rather, Jesus is preaching through us. We are then to go systematically into every village, until we have covered the ends of the earth.

When we do the work of the New Evangelization, as we are empowered to witness, then the result is this: “The whole town was gathered at the door.” (v.33). They will want to meet Christ and to enter into his dwelling. May it not be only the whole town, but all the nations of the earth. May we all find ourselves at the end of time gathered at the door .... to heaven.

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