The urgency of evangelization

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

ON the Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, celebrated on October 18, the gospel reading is about Christ appointing 72 disciples and sending them to places where he intended to go. (cfr. Lk 10,1-9) Somehow, a sense of urgency was injected in this commissioning when Christ told them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the master to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he proceeded to describe what his disciples could expect from this commissioning. “Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals…”

These words of the gospel should impress on us the idea that Christ too is sending us to evangelize, that is, to communicate the saving word of God to others. In a world that is becoming more and more toxic with all sorts of hot issues, confusing ideologies, belligerent opinions, etc., practically drowning us, there is the urgent need to let God’s healing word to reach and touch people’s hearts.

This task of evangelization belongs to everyone, whether one is a priest or a religious person or a simple lay person. Everyone should realize that it is Christ who is asking us to evangelize. He is actually appealing to us, begging us to help him carry out the continuing work of human redemption that definitely involves the evangelization of people

This is simply the effect and consequence of being a Christian who is supposed to be like Christ and to share his mission of evangelizing and redeeming everyone. We also have to apply to ourselves those words Christ told his apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so also I am sending you.” (Jn 20,21)

Evangelization is an integral and indispensable part of the whole mission of Christ—the redemption of mankind. While it may immediately concern itself in the transmission of the doctrine of our faith, it cannot go alone without being vitally and organically connected to the other aspects of human redemption.

For this, there is a great need for those of us who feel intended by Christ to evangelize, to truly master the doctrine of Christ and the Church, internalizing and living it such that we can have a vital communion with Christ himself.

It’s only in this way that we can manage to communicate the saving word of God with effectiveness, clarifying things both in truth and charity, and drowning evil with an abundance of good.

There is definitely the need to learn the art of effective delivery of the message of Christ which is at the heart of the gospel. We have to be wary of the danger to get lost in the different gimmicks of trying to be attractive in our delivery while failing to transmit the real message. Sad to say, many people are complaining that some priests resort to preaching techniques that detract from the real purpose of evangelization.

When jokes and other incidental items are remembered by the people instead of the real lessons of the gospel, there definitely is a failure of evangelization. It’s not that these rhetorical tools can’t be used. They just have to be studied properly so that they truly can help in establishing the real Christian doctrine rather than detracting from them.

Let’s help one another in becoming true evangelizers which in the end is a matter of becoming more and more like Christ.