FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE BASIC GOSPEL MESSAGE
March 31, 2016
Today’s gospel: Luke 24:35-48
The Great Commission as given by Jesus according to the gospel of Luke contains the basic elements of what is today our proclamation of the gospel through the 5-session Life in Christ Seminar (LCS), more specifically, the first four sessions (the fifth session is about what happened to the Church after Peter preached that first sermon on the day of Pentecost). This proclamation is at the heart of evangelization. Unfortunately, in much of the Church today, there is a lot of teaching, formation and catechesis, but not as extensive a proclamation of the basic gospel message. This is the missing first step. The Church needs to get back to the basics, as outlined by Jesus himself in his final instructions to his disciples.
The first session of the LCS is “Jesus the Messiah.” Jesus says, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day” (v.46). This session is about the love of God manifested in Jesus who gave his life for us on the cross to save us. Here people meet Christ.
The second session of the LCS is “Called to witness.” Jesus says, “You are witnesses of these things.” (v.48). This is the call to everyone who meets Christ. We witness by the silent holiness of our life but also by the verbal proclamation of the gospel. We show how Jesus has changed us, and we proclaim who it is that changed us. We live Christ, and the basic way to do that is to live out the two greatest commandments, love of God and love of neighbor.
The third session is “Repentance and Faith.” Jesus says “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations” (v.47). We fall short of God’s call, and we need to repent and turn to faith in Jesus. When people hear the gospel proclaimed, it is intended to lead them to conversion, to a transformation of life, to metanoia.
The fourth session is “The Gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus says, “And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (v.49). The disciples are being sent to proclaim Christ to the world. This is divine work given to sinful human instruments. Thus, to effectively share Christ, we need a power beyond ourselves, and that is the power of the Holy Spirit.
The New Evangelization is a call to go back to the old tested methodology of Pentecost, as instructed by the Lord Jesus himself before he ascended into heaven.
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