FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND EVANGELIZATION – 2
October 18, 2016
2 Timothy 4:9-17
“The Lord is just in all his ways, merciful in all his works.” (Ps 145:17). Mercy is not giving the punishment that is due. Justice is giving what is due. How do these two virtues intersect? It is through the work of evangelization.
What is due to man, according to God’s own plan and desire, is salvation, and life eternal in heaven. How does that happen? By the mercy of God, by which God sent Jesus into the world to suffer and die for man, to pay the price for man’s transgression, and thus pave the way to reconciliation with God. But man needs to be told of that salvation so he can turn to faith in Jesus. This is accomplished by means of the work of evangelization, the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus.
Evangelization is “making known to the sons of men your mighty acts, the majestic glory of your rule.” (Ps 145:12). When the gospel is proclaimed and they call upon the name of the Lord, then they are saved. “The Lord is near to all who call upon him” (Ps 145:18a).
How is God made known to men? How is the gospel proclaimed? This is the work of evangelizers, of disciples of Jesus, of apostles (those who are sent). This is what Jesus did. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” (Lk 10:1). Their basic message was this: “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.” (Lk 10:9b).
Now Jesus says, “The harvest is abundant” (Lk 10:2a). Why will the harvest be abundant? Because God wants all men to be saved. Because the grace and mercy of God are bountiful. Because the power of the Holy Spirit is at work. But for there to be a great harvest, there needs to be massive evangelization. For this, there is a need for many proclaimers of the gospel. Unfortunately, “the laborers are few” (Lk 10:2b).
But those laborers are there. Aside from our own CFC-FFL members, they are the very many lay parish leaders and workers. Their focus just needs to be reoriented. Their passion just needs to be ignited. Their methodologies just need to be updated (with new wineskins). That is what LCSC can provide.
When people do evangelistic mission work, they can expect to be opposed by the evil one. They are sent “like lambs among wolves.” (Lk 10:3b). Unfortunately, some of those wolves are the enemy within. They often are fellow workers, missionaries, elders in community. As a sampling:
* Those who return to a worldly life. One such was Demas, described by Paul as “enamored of the present world, deserted me” (2 Tm 4:9a).
* Those who dissent from community authority and order. One such was Alexander the coppersmith, described by Paul as one who “did me a great deal of harm” and who “has strongly resisted our preaching.” (2 Tm 4:14a,15b).
* Those who abandon their co-workers in times of oppression and persecution. This was the experience of Paul. “At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” (2 Tm 4:16a).
But if God authentically calls us and we submit as His holy workers, since this is God’s work and we are mere instruments, God will protect us. “And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” (2 Tm 4:17b). Not only that, the gospel will be proclaimed in the power of the Spirit. “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” (2 Tm 4:17a).
May it then be said of us, who are called to be mercynaries and holy warriors, “They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your mighty works.” (Ps 145:11).
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