The Service of Evangelization

Today’s world presents Christians with a great challenge. We live in a society that has turned its back on God, and is enclosed in a suicidal dynamism of egoism and existential lies that presents itself as the normal way of life. It is a world enslaved by ruptures and contradictions, where the culture of death, which deifies unbridled power, possessions, and pleasure, penetrates every aspect of life. It is a world where many slide down – though unaware of it themselves – the dramatic slope of despair. Many suffer the terrible anxiety of a lonely life with without meaning. In a world agonizing from a lack of light and warmth, we cannot remain indifferent.

Faced with a world such as this, today more than ever, the Lord Jesus’ urgent call applies to each one of us: “Therefore, go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”[1] The Lord Jesus is the Response to man’s crisis. Only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.[2] Only He has words of eternal life,[3] and only he is the life-giving water that can quench our thirst for infinity.[4] Anyone who encounters the Son of Mary cannot but share him with others. Making an option for the Lord Jesus is the same as making an option for love and its dynamism, which from one’s personal reality is transmitted to others. Apostolate is a superabundance of love.

The horizon of evangelization is immense. “The whole world needs to be renewed from its very foundations. It’s necessary to transform what is savage to what is human, and what is human to what is divine, that is, according to the heart of God.”[5] This is a great and exciting task, that moves us to repeat St. Pauls’ words: “And woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel.”[6]

Called To Be Apostles

Evangelization is the Church’s very vocation, the essence of her deepest identity.[7] Through Baptism, we are born into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the church. For that reason, every Christian’s vocation is, by its very nature, one of apostolate.[8] The Lord himself summons us to be apostles,[9] calling each by his name,[10] and entrusting us the ministry of reconciliation.[11]

The apostolate is a fundamental task for every Christian. We are called to second Mary in her evangelizing work of leading lead all men to an encounter with the Lord Jesus, her Son. By the gift of her spiritual maternity, Mary gives birth to Christ in men according to God’s Plan. When we do apostolate, we are collaborating with our Mother in her evangelizing task.

Apostles of the Good News

Being an apostle is not the result of rational, technical study, but the fruit of a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus and a profound commitment to the Son of Mary. It means being a witness to the Lord’s resurrection. Being an apostle means proclaiming the Lord in the first person and transmitting what one lives[12] in the here and now of my life. Announcing the Good News begins with the testimony of one’s own life. It’s also necessary “to give an explanation to all who ask you the reason for that hope which is in you.”[13] Our proclamation needs to be clear, bold and explicit about the Lord Jesus.

Evangelizers Permanently Evangelized

A blind man cannot guide another who is blind.[14] The first field of our apostolate is oneself. An apostle should work tirelessly for his own conversion and actively collaborate with grace to live reconciliation; forming himself in the faith, nourishing himself in the Eucharist, renewing himself in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and grounding himself in daily prayer.[15] An apostolate that is not born from an ever more reconciled heart is sterile. It becomes a mere projection of his own internal rupture.[16]

Under the Guidance of Mary

Mary’s maternal presence always accompanies us in our apostolate as the Star of the New Evangelization. She guides us in our steps and is a model of apostolic service.[17] She was the Lord’s first disciple, bringing the Good News to Elizabeth and presiding over the nascent Church at Pentecost. She is a living and contemporary witness of evangelizing service and a loving self-gift to others.

For Meditation

Called by the Lord to be apostles: Acts 9:3-9,13-16; Rm 1:1-5; Gal 1:1; Col 2:1-3; 1Thes 2:8-12.

Proclaim the Lord in the first person: 1Cor 15:3-8; 2Cor 4:5; Gal 1:11-12; Gal 1:15-16.

Apostolate is a service that manifests love: Acts 3:6; 2Cor 12:15; Gal 4:19; Col 3:23-24.

Love moves us to give everything for the apostolate: 1Cor 4:9-13; 2Cor 4:7-10; 2Cor 11:23-29; 2Tm 4:2.

 

[1] Mt 28:19.

[2] See Jn 14:6.

[3] See Jn 6:68.

[4] See Jn 4:10.14.

[5] Pius XII, For a Better World, 2/10/1952, 4.

[6] 1Cor 9:16.

[7] See Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, 14-15; also see Lumen gentium, 5.

[8] See Apostolicam actuositatem, 2.

[9] See Jn 15:16.

[10] See Mt 10:2-4.

[11] See 2Cor 5:18.

[12] See Phil 1:21; 3:7-8.

[13] See 1Pt 3:15.

[14] See Mt 15:14.

[15] See John Paul II, Message to the Young People, Lima, Peru 5/15/1988, 4.

[16] See Mt 7:16-19.

[17] See Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, 82.