FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
NO OTHER NAME
April 26, 2015
Today’s reading: Acts 4:8-12
Today we hear from Peter the very reason why we evangelize. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (v.12).
The Father sent His very own Son Jesus into the world to win salvation for us through the cross. God wants everyone to be saved. But to experience the salvation already won for us by Jesus, we need to accept him as Savior and Lord. This includes turning away from our old ways and turning our lives over to him.
Now God depends on us, His people, to proclaim this good news of salvation in Jesus, so that people might meet Christ, start to live Christ. and in turn themselves share Christ. This is the work of evangelization.
God established His Church, His body on earth, to precisely do this work. The Catholic Church is missionary. To proclaim Christ is her very reason for existence. This work is for everyone, not just for priests and religious, but more especially for the laity, who make up over 99.9% of the Church. They are the workers needed to bring in the abundant harvest. But is this what God’s people are doing?
God empowers us through His Spirit, so we can be witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
We can look to Jerusalem as the home front, those who are Roman Catholics. As it is now, most Catholics are lapsed and non-practicing, and even antagonistic to the Church. They need to be re-evangelized.
We can look to Samaria as our separated brethren, the Protestants and other Christian denominations. There are some Catholics who do not favor winning them over to the one true Church (they do not even want to speak of our Catholic Church as the one true Church). So we speak of ecumenism, but Christian unity can only happen if the one foundation is truly Jesus Christ. Now many Protestant denominations have already abandoned the true faith, accepting contraception, divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage, some even having active homosexual bishops. They certainly need to be re-evangelized as well.
We can look to the ends of the earth as the non-Christian world. Aside from the mainline religions, this includes pseudo-Christian groups that are actually sects (they do not accept that Jesus is God) and cults. Now there are again some in our Church who just want to co-exist with them, to just look at the good that they have in their religions. Yes that certainly should be done. But their religions will not bring them to salvation. So our Church engages in inter-religious dialogue, as well she should. But the problem is when we no longer seek to convert them.
Salvation is only in Jesus. That is why we evangelize. And should do so with a passion.
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