ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
December 25, 2011
Today’s reading: Isaiah 52:7-10
The prophet Isaiah says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings” (Is 52:7a). Paul quotes him: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:15b). As an aside, Semites praised the parts of the body that bring the messenger with good news (see Lk 11:27).
Isaiah refers to God leading His people from exile in Babylon back to Zion. Paul refers to those who proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. God restores His exiled people to the holy city Jerusalem. Jesus restores God’s people, separated by sin and under the dominion of the enemy, back to Himself and ultimately entry into the New Jerusalem.
In both cases, it is occasion for tremendous joy. “Hark! Your watchmen raise a cry, together they should for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion.” (Is 52:8). Today, we are among those watchmen who see what God is doing in the world. God is bringing His people back to Himself! But not only do we realize what is happening, we are given the privilege of participating, of being among those who bring the good news.
How? Paul talked about the process of evangelization. Jesus has won salvation on the cross. But we need to accept that salvation. We need to call on the name of the Lord (Rom 10:13). That is an individual decision. But we as evangelizers have a very important part to play. Paul says further, “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15).
The process of evangelization starts with the sending. Thus, before ascending into heaven, Jesus called his disciples and sent them to proclaim the good news to everyone in the whole world (Mk 16:15). We are among those sent. If we do not then proclaim the good news, then people will not hear, so they won’t be able to believe, so they cannot call on Jesus’ name, so they miss out on the salvation he already won for them.
Do you now see why the feet of those who bring the good news are so beautiful?
Isaiah says, “All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.” (Is 52:10b). Yes, that is what God intends to happen. But God has also made Himself dependent upon His disciples to proclaim that good news.
Let us go about our work of evangelization even more intensely. Let us shout for joy and “break out together in song” (Is 52:9a), as we march to the ends of the earth.
Happy feet indeed.
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