FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
April 13, 2012
Today’s reading: Acts 4:1-12
Why did Jesus go to the cross? To win salvation for all. Why is every Christian supposed to be an evangelizer, proclaiming the salvation won by Jesus on the cross? So that all will be saved. How do we get to heaven, according to the eternal plan of God, first manifested in paradise? By accepting the salvation won by Jesus on the cross.
Here is the all-important truth: “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.” (Acts 4:12). The only Savior is Jesus.
Our task is to proclaim Christ to all. When we do so, we can expect a number of things to happen.
First, there will be those who will be disturbed. “While they were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 4:1-2). Now we look to all being disturbed, for that can be a very good thing. People need to be taken out of their complacency, their comfort zones, their passivity, their blindness, their coasting along through life. They need to be confronted with their sinful human condition and be made to see their need for Jesus and the salvation he brings.
There will of course also be those who will oppose our preaching, either because they disagree (like the Sadducees who did not believe in bodily resurrection), or because they are threatened (like the Jewish priests whose very faith was being challenged), or because they are simply disturbed (like the temple guard who would not like disorder in the temple). We simply need to persist, knowing that we have life-changing truth.
Second, there can be more forceful or even violent reaction. “They laid hands on them and put them in custody” (Acts 4:3a). This certainly happens in non-Christian lands, especially where there are rabid fundamentalists, like in some Muslim nations or in Hindu India. These would happen in nations governed by atheists like China and Vietnam. But these would also happen in so-called Christian nations like in Europe, the USA and Canada, where there is now a direct assault on faith, especially against the Catholic Church. In situations like this, we simply need to endure, knowing that even suffering and pain are salvific, both for us and for those we seek to evangelize.
When these things happen, we continue preaching the truth. In fact, these are the opportune times given us to reach those still outside the faith. We continue to proclaim the gospel “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 4:10b). This is the simple but powerful gospel message, that Jesus died for our sins and was raised.
With this gospel message, we look to many more turning to Christ. As in the days of the apostles, “many of those who heard the word came to believe and the number of men grew to about five thousand.” (Acts 4:4).
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