SHARING THE GOSPEL

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

 

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION

(Part 24)

 

SHARING THE GOSPEL

 

January 4, 2012

Today’s gospel: John 1:35-42

 

 

In today’s story of the first disciples of Jesus, we see the classic way of evangelization that God has given us.

First, evangelization is person-to-person. John the Baptist points Jesus out to Andrew and John (Jn 1:36). Then Andrew points Jesus out to Simon (Jn 1:41). The evangelized becomes an evangelizer.

Second, person-to-person evangelization proceeds from a personal relationship between evangelizer and the one evangelized. Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist. Simon was the brother of Andrew. We evangelize in the normal, day-to-day circumstances of our lives. In this case, with our subordinates and our relatives. But also, with friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, etc.

Third, we evangelize by sharing our own experience with Jesus. Andrew, who stayed with Jesus that day (Jn 1:39b), told his brother Simon, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41).

Fourth, we help bring people to an encounter with Jesus (which is what happens in a CLS). John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36b), so Andrew and John followed Jesus (Jn 1:37), and then Jesus revealed himself to them (Jn 1:39a). Andrew, after telling Simon they had found the Messiah, “brought him to Jesus.” (Jn 1:42a).

 

What happens in our encounter with Jesus in a CLS?

First, we will hear Jesus ask us, “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38b). We come to the CLS looking for different things–renewal of faith, strengthening of marriage, wisdom in family matters, a way out of problems, more friends, perhaps a market for our secular product. Or some will not be looking for anything at all, having been forced to attend, or just having no expectations. But as we go on with the CLS, God begins to speak to us.

Second, we learn a lot of things about the Christian life, just like Andrew and John who “went and saw where he was staying” (Jn 1:39b). Even though we hear human speakers and facilitators, we actually encounter a “Rabbi,” a Teacher (Jn 1:38c). When we open up our minds and our hearts to Jesus, then he invites us, “Come, and you will see.” (Jn 1:39a).

Third, we are able to see and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. At some point, with joy we can exclaim, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41b).

Finally, as we make our commitment through our covenant and continue with the process of transformation in Christ, Jesus looks at us and commissions us as part of his work (Jn 1:42b).

 

The greatest work in the Kingdom we can do, the greatest service to our fellow men, is to help bring them to Jesus, through our work of evangelization. We start the process by speaking to people and they end up as disciples of Jesus. As in the gospel, they “heard John and followed Jesus.” (Jn 1:40b).

Jesus is just waiting to work his way with people. But he relies on us to bring these people to him. Today, Jesus still says to all, “Come, and you will see.” (Jn 1:39a).

 

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