FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
BEING PARTS OF THE BODY
January 27, 2013
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
The New Evangelization is a call to all followers of Christ to become evangelizers. The Church is missionary by nature. As those who make up the Church, we too are all to participate in the Great Commission to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus.
The Church is the body of Christ in the world, where Christ is the head and we are all parts of his body. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” (1 Cor 12:27). In the body there are different functions, just as the functions of our foot, ear or eye would be different. All the parts of the body need each other, even the less presentable parts. As such, there is to “be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.” (1 Cor 12:25).
Now not only do the parts of the body need each other, but Christ needs us humans as well. Jesus has entrusted to us the proclamation of the gospel. If we do not do it, no one will. Paul says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’” (1 Cor 12:21). Jesus’ eye saw the people and “at the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity” (Mt 9:36a). Thus he told his disciples to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Mt 9:38). We are the hands that will bring in the harvest. Further, Jesus as head of the Church has issued his marching orders to us all. We are the feet that march to the Spirit’s cadence.
Now here is an interesting aspect in today’s reading. Paul lists roles or functions of different parts of the body–apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. (1 Cor 12:28). The Holy Spirit gives gifts and assigns roles in order to accomplish God’s purpose. “But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.” (1 Cor 12:18).
Now wait a minute? Where are the evangelizers? Why are they not part of the list? The reason is simple. While God assigns different specialized parts to each member of the body, ALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BE EVANGELIZERS. Each and every one of us, aside from the specialized roles we are called to play, is to be the hands and feet of Christ, handling his work and plodding through the whole world to proclaim the gospel.
One more thing. We can readily see the importance and distinctiveness of being apostles, prophets, teachers, doers of mighty deeds, healers, etc. We know that not many will be gifted as such. While God can use anyone, the extent to which He is able to use us depends on our response to His call. In fact, God could do so much more good in the world if only we responded more fully and wholeheartedly.
But see, God does use everyone, even the weakest and the least, to be evangelizers. But this work of evangelization is the most important, the most fundamental, the most critical to accomplishing God’s purposes on earth. So we are sinful and weak. But here is the truth: “Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary” (1 Cor 12:22). Each one of us is crucial to the work of evangelization.
Let us then be about the work of evangelization. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus. Then, even as we continue to struggle with the fullness of God’s call to us, we can know that our Lord will be pleased. Indeed, “those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor” (1 Cor 12:23a).
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