“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Today, in our If My People prayer pilgrimage Day 6, we are looking at those final words Jesus spoke to the disciples before he ascended into heaven to be with the Father. Evangelization, plain and simple… We are to go everywhere, teach everything and baptize everyone. It doesn’t get more forthright than that when looking at what Jesus asks of us. If He knows that I am fully capable of going, teaching and baptizing, then why do I find this direction from my Savior so daunting and overwhelming. Who am I to evangelize? I’m comfortable in my faith and uncomfortable when forced to be anything other than a Catholic mom who walks the spiritual side in her life by attending Mass, practicing the Sacraments, raising her family in the faith, teaching Sunday School, going to Bible studies and writing in her blog. I like the easy way.
“To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living Mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard
Several years ago, this quote by Cardinal Suhard was printed on the back of our Parish bulletin. I was so filled with joy when I read and thought about the meaning of this quote. It seemed so natural, easy. No street evangelization. No asking strangers, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” No Bible Thumping. No propaganda. Not even stirring
people up with insults and insinuations that they needed to get right with Mother Church. Just simply living my life as a mystery… a prayer… in such a way that only God’s existence would complete my life and make my life story valid. The most compelling way to share the message of the Gospel, the Good News of His coming, to bring wild hope to others, would be to live a conscious life for Him, to bring Him glory. Jesus came to redeem the assault of evil on our lives and to offer another way to live, filled with mercy, love, kindness for the least of our brethren rather than revenge, eye for an eye justice, and a harsh life of fulfilling man’s law in God’s name. Somehow, this idea of evangelization seems more fulfilling, an easier way of following His path that makes sense to me when I see how He treated the least of His followers in the Gospel. He did not judge nor condemn the sinner begging for healing. How many times did He chose the more difficult aspect of healing His people’s faith through forgiveness? “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace and sin no more.” A much more important healing for each of us than the easier physical healing that many of us have begged for over the course of humanity. And yet, He lovingly and faithfully healed physical ailments as well. So it must be for each of us to find a way to live as a Mystery for Him through our willingness to show steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, unasked for forgiveness.
Soren Kierkegaard: “All genuine instruction ends in a kind of silence, for when I live it, it is no longer necessary for my speaking to be audible.”
So we look at the propaganda that goes on in the name of evangelization and realize that many times it is not love, mercies, hope, nor forgiveness. It comes down to the words. Are you saying the right words with the correct tone of voice? Are you saying the words loud enough and often enough and to everyone? In the end, it truly is not about the words. People will agree or disagree or be noncommittal with our words. We must begin the hard work if our life is to relay the sense of God’s existence, to show our beliefs, values, convictions into our daily life; our worship, our work, the sustainability of our life, our interactions with others. This is our witness. As James said in 1:22, ‘Be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Thereby deceiving only yourself.” To be doers and not hearers only we must do two things. First, we must commit to a God Centered, not culture centered life. We must seek out His Will and conform our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions to what we know He is leading us to. Then we MUST respect the silence, the quietness with gentleness and kindness towards others. We quietly go about showing steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, and unasked for forgiveness to whomever crosses our path, #BlackLives, #BlueLives, #AllLives, #MuslimJewishProtestantHindiCatholicAgnostic……… We leave the judging and condemning to God, who loves us with a Holy Love and who judges with Holy Condemnation. We become His living Mystery.
Praying that each of you may step out into Evangelization with steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, and unasked for forgiveness to all whom cross your path.
May you find gratitude and peace in every moment,