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(Part 81)


May 30, 2014

The New Evangelization is premised on the methodology of Pentecost and the life and mission of the early Church. The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples of Jesus to witness. Such empowerment to witness was to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Thus the work of massive worldwide evangelization needs to look to Pentecost as the starting point.

When the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples on the day of Pentecost, they manifested charismatic praise. As they were filled with the Spirit, they spoke in tongues. Some scoffed, thinking they were drunk. Today some Catholics, including clerics, look on charismatic renewal as a fringe activity in the Church. The mainstream hardly talks about charismatic gifts such as tongues. But charismatic spirituality is the spirituality of massive evangelization. It is the spirituality of empowerment to witness to the ends of the earth. It is the spirituality proper to the New Evangelization.

Peter, in explaining that the disciples were not drunk, referred to the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-21). In these verses, these are the important elements:

(1) “It will come to pass in the last days” (v.17a). We are in the end times, and thus the times are really urgent and critical.
(2) “I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh” (v.17b). It will be the very Spirit of God at work. The empowerment to witness is for everyone. We just need to be able to appropriate what God is providing.
(3) “they shall prophesy” (v.18b). Not only designated prophets, or for that matter apostles, will participate in the work. Everyone is intended to be used by God, and for that purpose, is given some charismatic gift (1 Cor 12:4-11).
(4) “And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below” (v.19a). The work will be accompanied by signs and wonders. Those who believe in Jesus will do the works that he does, and even greater works (Jn 14:12). Faith works wonders.
(5) “and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.” (v.21). The salvation Jesus already won for everyone on the cross can be appropriated by accepting him as Savior and Lord. To make it to heaven, just BE.LI.EV.E!

Anyway, Peter referred to the prophet Joel. So we look at the book of Joel. Joel announces to Judah unprecedented disaster due to natural calamities (consider the devastation throughout the world due to typhoons, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.). He then announces the day of the Lord and exhorts the people to return to the Lord. Then he speaks about the Lord’s final judgment, with the Lord making His case against the nations.

Then the Lord proclaims war!

Announce this to the nations:
Proclaim a holy war!
Alert the warriors!
Let all the soldiers report and march!
(Jl 4:9)

This is a call to everyone -- parents and children, young and old, male and female (Jl 3:1-2), strong or weak. They are all to be part of the armies of God.

Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning knives into spears;
let the weakling boast: “I am a warrior!”
(Jl 4:10)

This is a call to all people, to the universal Church. It is even a call for the angels of God to participate in this final conflict.

Hurry and come, all you neighboring peoples, assemble there!
Bring down, Lord, your warriors!
(Jl 4:11)

Hurry! Rouse yourselves and come up (Jl 4:12a). “Wield the sickle, for the harvest is ripe” (Jn 4:13a). There is no time to lose. The work of evangelization is of the greatest urgency. “For near is the day of the Lord in the Valley of Decision.” (Jl 4:14b).

We have been called to mission. We are to be the Lord’s warriors. Ha-ooh!

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