ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
PUBLICIZING THE WHOLE MATTER
January 12, 2012
Today’s gospel: Mark 1:40-45
We again have much we can learn about evangelization in today’s gospel reading. A leper whom Jesus heals witnessed about his healing, such that people kept coming to Jesus from everywhere.
What is our manner of evangelization? It is person-to-person, in the normal day-to-day environments of our time. What is involved is basically our simple witness of what God has done for us. We do not have to quote the Bible, or preach, or already be very holy. We just have to be willing, and hopefully eager, to share what God has done for us.
What would that be? It does not have to be a miraculous healing, like the leper’s. It is in fact the less spectacular blessings that ordinary people can relate to. It would have to do with aspects of life that they themselves face. We share about how God has improved our marriage relationship, how we are closer to our children, how we are relating better with our workmates, how we have a bit more confidence in facing difficulties, and the like.
Everyone can do that!
We must realize that everyone has a need that only Jesus can satisfy. As evangelizers, we simply trigger that person’s interest by our witness, so that he would consider coming to Jesus. He sees what God has done for us, and he can look forward to God also doing something for him.
By our testimony, we hopefully bring about three aspects that are important in receiving God’s favor. One, the person goes to Jesus. Thus the “leper came to him” (Mk 1:40a). Two, he comes with humility, knowing he is sinful flesh before God. The leper was “kneeling down” (Mk 1:40b). Three, he asks for what he needs. “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (Mk 1:40c).
That is all Jesus needs. God loves everyone and wants all to be saved, but He needs them to come to Him and ask. Jesus immediately responded to the leper’s plea, “I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mk 1:41b).
Now in our work, the evangelized becomes the evangelizer. This is how the work spreads rapidly and massively. It was the same with the leper. Blessed by God, he could not keep it to himself. Unfortunately, some of us who have been blessed by God keep that good news to ourselves. We must witness! We must testify!
The leper was warned sternly by Jesus not to tell anyone (Mk 1:43-44a). But he went anyway “and began to publicize the whole matter.” (Mk 1:45a). In fact, “he spread the report abroad” (Mk 1:45b). He did not just tell a few people; he spread it. He did not just talk about it in his locality; he did the rounds abroad. On the other hand, we are told to proclaim the good news of Jesus but we do not! How ironic!
If and when we do boldly proclaim the gospel by our witness, the result will be awesome. We will see “people (keep) coming to him from everywhere.” (Mk 1:45d).
The leper was told not to tell anyone but he did. We are told to tell everyone but we do not. The leper was disobedient to Jesus but ended up participating in Jesus’ mission of proclaiming the good news to many others. How much more will the good news of Jesus be spread far and wide if we obey?
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