FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
April 27, 2013
The Lord today reiterates our theme verse. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:12). The call to the New Evangelization is about faith, faith that works, faith that works wonders. It is about meeting and knowing Christ, living Christ, and sharing Christ.
Many Catholics actually do not really know Jesus, because they have never met him in a personal transforming relationship. They might have been born as Catholics, raised as Catholics, even go through the motions of being a Catholic, but they do not live authentic Christianity in their day-to-day lives. “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me?” (Jn 14:9a).
Then there are those Catholics who have met Jesus, but who might not allow such an encounter to truly change their lives radically. If they did, then they would become other Christs, living his way of holiness. The works of God would be patently manifest in their day-to-day lives. “The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.” (Jn 14:10c).
Then there are those Catholics who are striving to live holy lives, but do not evangelize. Their spirituality is just for themselves. They do not share Christ to the world through verbal proclamation (though their silent witness can testify to Christ). As such, since they have not become God’s instruments in missionary endeavor, then, while they may experience the consolation of the Holy Spirit, they will not experience His full empowerment, which is geared towards mission, to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. As such, they believe in Jesus, they do his works, but they do not “do greater ones than these” (Jn 14:12b).
Because Jesus has gone to the Father (Jn 14:12c), and since his disciples are supposed to carry on his work, then Jesus sends them on mission to the ends of the earth. This work is extremely important. It is the very work of Jesus, with us as instruments. Jesus acts in and through us. As such, Jesus makes us an astounding promise. “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do” (Jn 14:13a). Jesus even says it again. “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:14).
Now this is not a magic formula. We hear people all the time praying for certain things, ending the prayer with “we ask this in Jesus’ name.” What we ask for will not automatically happen. What we ask for might even be not in accordance with God’s will or plan for us. What it means to ask in Jesus name is that we are one in mind and heart with Jesus, that we are obeying his will (not our preferences or desires or agenda), that we are a holy instrument that he wields. If such is the case, then Jesus will indeed do what we ask.
That cannot consistently happen unless we have met and gotten to know Jesus, are starting to live our lives in and for him, and are allowing him to use us as his instruments.
How are we to be God’s instruments to fulfill His purpose? It is for us to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to the whole world. “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47). We need to meet and know Christ because it is he whom we proclaim. We need to live Christ because we need to be witnesses, to be God’s light in darkness. We need to share Christ, as instruments of salvation. This is so important, because those who reject the good news “condemn (themselves) as unworthy of eternal life” (Acts 13:46b). Evangelization is all about entering into eternal life. “All who were destined for eternal life came to believe.” (Acts 13:48b).
As we respond to the call to the New Evangelization, let us always be mindful of certain important truths.
* God “has done marvelous deeds” (Ps 98:1b). As God’s evangelizers, we can too, and even do greater works.
* “His right hand and holy arm have won the victory.” (Ps 98:1c). Jesus already won salvation on the cross, and that is what we proclaim. As we enter into spiritual warfare, we know we already share in the victory of Christ.
* “He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” (Ps 98:3a). God does not sent us off to war and just fend for ourselves. He is there with us and for us. He is faithful and merciful towards us His people.
* “All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” (Ps 98:3b). God sends us forth to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. We are to do a worldwide work of evangelization and mission. And God has already prepared the harvest.
How then should we respond? “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; break into song; sing praise.” (Ps 98:4). What a glorious privilege! What a critically important work! What a divine gift given into human hands!
Let us evangelize with a passion, such that “the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region.” (Acts 13:49). Indeed let the light of Christ spread to the whole world.
What a glorious life! “The disciples were filled with joy and the holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52).
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