FULFILLING OUR MANDATE

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION

(Part 53)

FULFILLING OUR MANDATE

April 17, 2015

Today’s readings:

Acts 5:34-42

Psalm 27:1-14

John 6:1-15

The Catholic Church is a missionary Church. CFC-FFL is evangelistic and missionary. Every Catholic ought to share Christ. Christians exist to evangelize. Unfortunately, the Great Commission is unknown by many Catholics. Many Church groups are not evangelistic. Parishes look to maintenance rather than searching actively for the lost sheep. We need to recover the spirit of Pentecost. The infilling of the Spirit resulted in a massive outpouring of evangelistic zeal. Evangelization and mission consumed the very lives of the first Christians, led by the apostles. “And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42). Evangelization was a daily activity, 24/7, done everywhere, without let-up.

We must realize what this great calling is all about.

First, it is about meeting Christ and getting to really know him.

* “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Ps 27:1a). Jesus is Savior and Lord. His saving work is our access to the Father. He lights up and shows us the way to heaven.

* “The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1c). Only Jesus can help us in our troubled world. There is much we can be afraid of, and only Jesus provides us strong refuge.

Second, it is about doing the very work of God. If it is God who sends us, then it is God who equips and empowers us, and we need never be afraid. Who is this God?

* He is a God of miracles. Jesus multiplies the loaves and the fish (Jn 6:9-13), providing for the needs of all, with much left over.

* He is a God of power, against whom no one can prevail. As God’s army, we already share in His victory. Even as the enemy assaults us and seeks to destroy us, we shall prevail, if we but do God’s will. “But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39a).

Third, it is about opposing the powers of this world, the evil one who has dominion over the world. It is engaging in the greatest and most destructive war of all time, and emerging victorious. “When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, these my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.” (Ps 27:2-3).

How then should we respond?

First, we must always be focused on Christ. We gaze at Jesus. We appreciate who he truly is. We connect and develop our personal relationship through daily and constant prayer. We visit with him in our prayer nook, in the Church at Mass, at the Eucharistic adoration. We look forward to being with him in heaven eternally. “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple.” (Ps 27:4).

Second, being with Christ, we must be confident in him and in his Spirit that he has sent us. God is able to work miracles. God is able to protect us. “For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble” (Ps 27:5a). God guides us. “Lord, show me your way; lead me on a level path” (Ps 27:11a). God gives us courage and endurance. “Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” (Ps 27:14).

Third, in the face of victory, we must remain humble. We must never look to power, position or acclaim. If the enemy is unable to defeat us frontally, he will disarm us by bringing us to pride. We must be true servant leaders. Jesus shows us the way. After the multiplication of the loaves, when “Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.” (Jn 6:15). We must not be self-referential, but always give all the honor and glory to God where they rightly belong.

Fourth, as we are engaged in war and so there will be pain and suffering, we must not be discouraged but rather find joy in our difficulties for the cause of Christ. After the apostles were flogged, “they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” (Acts 5:41). They rejoiced in suffering, pain and dishonor! How can the enemy ever faze God’s true warriors? When victorious they remain humble. When oppressed and persecuted they rejoice.

We have received our marching orders from God. We are to obey God rather than man. When state or religious authorities order us “to stop speaking in the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:40b), we all the more do so, and “not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42b).

Like the apostles, let us do this work of evangelization all day long and everywhere.

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