FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
MEET, LIVE, SHARE CHRIST
The New Evangelization is about meeting, living and sharing Christ. This actually is what ought to happen to all Christians, to be worthy of being considered a Christian. But the sad reality is that most Christians have not met Christ, are not living in Christ, and do not share Christ.
What does it mean to meet Christ?
It is to have an encounter with Jesus. Not as radical as the encounter of Saul with Jesus on the road to Damascus. But an encounter nonetheless with the risen Jesus. It is meeting the risen Lord. Jesus is alive.
It is not an intellectual knowledge of Jesus. He is not just the God who became man, suffered and died for us, and has returned to heaven. Now he is so far off. How could sinful man hope to connect with a divine Being?
Rather, Jesus is with us. He is our brother and friend. He walks with us. He guides us. He speaks to us in our hearts. We trust in him. We know that he only wants the best for us.
We meet Christ in prayer. Daily prayer. Time set aside to be with him, so that we can grow in our personal relationship. Jesus becomes an intimate part of our lives. We desire to live for him and for him alone.
What does it mean to live Christ?
Once we have met Jesus, we need to grow in our relationship with him. We need to be transformed in Christ. We enter more deeply into our life in him. We need to be changed, as we are restored to the image and likeness of God in which we were created. We become worthy children of the Father. We become true temples of the Holy Spirit.
God provides us the tools to grow in Christ. Aside from prayer, we have the Bible and Christian formation. We have the privilege of doing Christian service, by which we grow in loving our neighbor. We have the support of the Christian community. We have the sacraments.
Living Christ is living a life of holiness. We are not just to avoid sin and be good people. We are to be holy people. We are to be holy in every aspect of our conduct, to be holy because God is holy (1 Pt 1:15-16). We have been set apart. We live in the world but are not of it. We walk along God’s righteous path.
Living Christ is being a true disciple. Jesus defined discipleship: we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him (Mt 16:24). Against the world’s self-concern and lust for pleasure, we are not to have ourselves at the center of our earthly existence. Jesus is at the center. Against the world’s seeking for comfort and convenience, we are to embrace the hardships and suffering that come with authentic Christian living. This was the very way of Jesus.
To live Christ is to be another Christ.
What does it mean to share Christ?
If we met Christ and started to live Christ, but kept that wonderful experience all to ourselves, we would be the most selfish of people. The gift we have received we are to give as a gift. Love is all about sharing. And what, or who, we share is Jesus himself.
To share Christ is to evangelize others, to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to others, so that they too might meet him. Every Christian is supposed to be an evangelizer. The Church herself is a missionary community. To evangelize is to obey Jesus’ final instructions before he ascended into heaven.
This is not just the task of bishops, priests and nuns. Or a few lay servant leaders. It is the task of all, especially the laity, since they represent over 99% of the Church. It is the lay people who are out there in the world, in contact with everyone else, especially those who are not churchgoers.
If a Christian is one who has met Christ, is living Christ, and is sharing Christ, then you can see that most so-called Christians today do not quality. Most probably including yourself.
This is why there are many nominal and lapsed Christians. This is why there is so much evil in the world, perpetrated by such Christians (among others). This is why, 2,000 years after Jesus defeated the enemy and won for us our salvation, many are still dying in their sins, and darkness still hovers over the whole world. Here then is the urgency of the work.
So we see why there is a need for a New Evangelization. It is not a new message. It is not a new calling. It is not a new way of life as intended by God.
Rather, it is a living out of what God had intended from the very beginning. It is a life centered and founded on Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is about being a true Christian.
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