Saturday, 27 October 2007 02:23

Why Evangelise?

“The Church offers mankind the Gospel… which responds to the needs and aspirations of the human heart and always remains ‘Good News.’” 
St John Paul II

Jesus commanded us, the Church, to do so

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In the “Great Commission” Jesus made it the Church’s mission to evangelise. Jesus commands this because “He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. We are invited to cooperate with Jesus’ desire by sharing the Good News, and we can be confident that Jesus is with us when we do so.

“The Church cannot elude Christ’s explicit mandate, nor deprive men and women of the “Good News” about their being loved and saved by God”  St John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio 44

To share what we have been given.

"When we have experienced the goodness of the life and infinite love that Christ offers, we want to share that gift with others. The Lord is always calling us to come out of ourselves and to share with others the goods we possess, starting with the most precious gift of all - our faith."
St John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio 49

As Christians we are called to love our neighbour. The most loving thing we can do is give others the gift of Christ. Each human is made for relationship with God and without this relationship a spiritual deprivation exists. Evangelisers often share the good news because they are moved by compassion for those who do not know Him. They act in the hope others might find that same “life to the full” in the love that Christ offers.  As Christians we have experienced this renewing and fulfilling relationship with Christ. If we believed it was not good for us, we would throw it away! Just like we recommend movies or  restaurants to friends, we can recommend Jesus as a preferential option for people’s lives.  He fulfils the longing thirst of each human heart. The Woman at the Well (John 4) is an example of one’s search and thirst for God. And moreover, once receiving the faith, the woman could not keep it to herself and had to declare to others that Jesus is God.

“It is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the Kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn.”
Pope Paul VI

Everyone should have the chance to know Christ

“It is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded.”
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 23

Not everyone has the gift of faith, yet everyone should be given the chance to know Christ so that they can choose to follow him. Because we know Him, we have a duty to others to share Christ with those who have not had a chance to know Him.

When we think about our faith it is a gift we have received not through ourselves but through others; it has been handed down to us - we have been evangelised. So we can see that if we were first not evangelised, we would never have this great gift. To give someone the opportunity to hear about Jesus requires an evangeliser to share this gift.

“In proclaiming Christ to non-Christians, the missionary is convinced that, through the working of the Spirit, there already exists in individuals and peoples an expectation, even an unconscious one, of knowing the truth about God, about man, and about how we are to be set free from sin and death.”
St John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio 45

The Church needs people to Evangelise to bear fruit

“She exists in order to evangelise”
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi

Evangelisation the primary mission of the Church. The birth of the Church is tied to Pentecost where the intial action of the Apostles was one of evangelisation when Peter preached to the people and their numbers grew. It is a reality that with No evangelisation there would be No Church. The Church built not of buildings but of ‘living stones’ who are the people.  Without members she ceases to exist. If no one assents to the task of evangelisation the Church will diminish.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” 
Luke 2:10

It nourishes and strengthens our faith

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”
Matthew 5:15

Faith is given to be used. When we put a light underneath a bowl it extinguishes, there is no air to fuel the fire - our life of faith will also diminish if we are not willing to open ourselves to the world and others. Using our faith strengthens and reassures us of this great gift and helps us grow closer to the heart of the people and the heart of God.

“Mission is an issue of faith, an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us.”
St Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio 11

Because when news is this good you just HAVE to Share It!

“At the root of all evangelisation lies not a human plan of expansion, but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in his own life”.
Pope Benedict XVI


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"What is first needed for the evangelization of the world are those who will evangelize"
St John Paul II, Christifideles Laici 35



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