The First Evangelization
Jesus speaks powerfully as he moved about Galilee, “Now is the time for fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1.14-15)
Do you hear a hint of the approaching Lenten season when we will once again accompany
Jesus on the road to Jerusalem? That is precisely what the newly chosen disciples were doing, companioning Jesus on his way to the Cross. But they were unaware; they did not have the luxury of knowing the whole story like we do. And still they followed, leaving behind families and work familiar to them. Jesus enticed them when knowing they were fishermen by trade he told them he would make them “fishers of men.”
This is a direct teaching from Jesus for the disciples, and ultimately us, to evangelize. Jesus spoke, “Repent and live by the gospel,” but the gospel as we know it was not yet written. So we need to look at the word gospel – it means good news. Jesus was preaching repent and believe in the good news that He was proclaiming; that through Him we will gain eternal life! The good news the disciples came to proclaim was that of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead – the same news that we are called by our baptism to proclaim in our time. And by doing so, we bring others to know Jesus Christ – we evangelize!
Have you ever had a conversation with family and friends about how we can evangelize in our world today? I suppose we could leave all we know; our work, our family, our home and move door to door, town to town, proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Savior. However, I think we can evangelize by modeling for others what it means to be a Christian. We can help others to know Jesus Christ through our thoughts and actions, by how we treat one another,
how we welcome the stranger or care for the sick and the poor. They say actions speak louder than words so perhaps it is more by our Christian actions that we evangelize others.
I challenge you to think about this for yourself and to speak with family and friends about it in the coming weeks; perhaps over a cup of coffee with friends or at the dinner table with your children or grandchildren – How can we evangelize? What are we already doing that helps others come to know Jesus? What more do we need to do? And how will we respond when someone asks us, “Why do you think knowing Jesus is so important?” and “What difference could it possibly make in my life?” Enjoy the conversations as you come to understand your call to evangelize.
Blessings, Deb Rudolph