FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
April 6-7, 2015
Yesterday’s and today’s readings: Acts 2:14-32 & 36-41
Our work is evangelization and mission, and it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do such. Our spirituality is charismatic, which is the spirituality of Pentecost. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commissioned his disciples to proclaim the good news of salvation in him to the whole world. Right after the Spirit descended on the disciples on the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed the gospel to the pilgrims gathered. In one speech, in one day, 3,000 were converted to the faith. That was the power of the Holy Spirit at work, accomplishing the Father’s purposes, making people experience the salvation won by the Son on the cross.
Today, at the outset of the third millennium, facing a tsunami of evil in the world, responding to the call to the New Evangelization, our community has embraced the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) movement. This is intended to do even more massive work, and to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization.
The most basic program of LCSC is the Life in Christ Seminar (LCS), intended to bring program participants to a renewed and personal relationship with Jesus, and to being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Our 5-session LCS is based on Acts 2, focusing on the sermon of Peter on the day of Pentecost. The first 4 are based on the progression of the actual sermon, while the fifth is based on the birth of the Church immediately after the sermon.
* Session #1: Jesus the Messiah
“Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God ….” (Acts 2:22a)
* Session #2: Called to Witness
“of this we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:32b)
* Session #3: Repentance and Faith
“Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38a)
* Session #4: The Gift of the Holy Spirit
“you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38c)
* Session #5: Growing in the Spirit
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
This LCS is the basic proclamation of the gospel message, which is the missing first step in the varied works of many parishes today. The LCS brings participants to meet Christ and start to enter into a personal relationship with him. Then the LCS teaches about what it means to live Christ, that is, to be witnesses to Jesus. Then the LCS helps participants to make an adult response by way of repentance and faith. This paves the way to receiving anew an infilling of the Spirit, which is crucial for living a life of holiness and doing the work of evangelization. Now the participant is empowered to share Christ. Finally, for deepening one’s relationship with Jesus, for continuing needed formation, one is equipped with tools to growing in the faith, just as the first Christians devoted themselves to.
The LCS is just the very first step in bringing Catholics fully back to God and back to the Church. After the LCS should be a lifetime of formation, of which there is much to offer in the Church. LCSC itself offers its formation programs and pillars for renewal and revival in the Church.
A short one-day program, if truly empowered by the Spirit, if truly in accordance with the intent of God for the life of His people, can yield amazing results. This after all is divine work. One man, Peter, preached and 3,000 were converted. If the 1% of the Church that are authentic and not merely nominal Christians would do their share in living out the Great Commission, then the 99 lost sheep can be reached.
“And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47b).
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