Recently a friend asked me what is the best perspective to have about Evangelization at a time like this in which so many people are overwhelmed with COVID-19 pandemic? I remarked this is a great question for all of us and it is first of all important to recalibrate ourselves and sort of “reevangelize” who we are and ironically we have now officially entered the season of “Evangelization,” which we commemorate each year as a reminder of the increasing significance and importance to the very life of our parish in the life of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Through Evangelization, we have a greater respect not only for ourselves as we become personally evangelized, but as we participate in the evangelization of others. We become more cognizant of the corporal works of mercy, the beatitudes, and the encouragements within Saint Paul’s Epistles to take care of others by avoiding gossip, slander, falsehood, jealousy, and any form of unkindness! Specifically, in today’s parlance, we are neither aggressive, nor passive, nor even more unhealthy, “passive aggressive.” In contrast, we simply model the assertiveness that was profoundly displayed through the kindness of Jesus Christ as he consistently said his truth, with respect and honesty! He always displayed completely responsible and profound integrity, absolute authenticity and clear transparency as he walked his journey of life with courage. (The word “courage” comes from a Greek word who’s root is “fear“….we arrive at courage as we pass through our fear with persistence which is well promulgated by Calvin Coolidge who considered persistence as the greatest of all virtues!
Two recent popes, the late Pope John Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, eloquently stated that every Christian is just as much of a missionary to their fellow man because they have truly now arrived at such an in-depth understanding of the love of God for each of us in Jesus Christ. They concurred that Evangelization is the most important thing that we can do as Christian people. It becomes imperative for all of us to spread the Good News with enthusiasm (the word enthusiasm is also from Greek- and it means “God within”.) Perhaps we are reminded of the youngster standing on the corner with the newspaper in their hands yelling at the top of their voice “hear ye hear ye get the latest good news.“ What is our good news? Is it not, “Jesus Christ is risen today!“ Teilhard de Chardin states it is well as he says, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God!“ The early Christians did not go about asking nonbelievers or pagans “do you believe in Jesus Christ or come to church with us” (thought that’s not a bad idea) their lives so enthusiastically and inspirational permeated to the very core of what they believe, what they embraced, and what was so exciting, that nonbelievers wanted to become part of and join their group. They wanted to go to their church and share in their life of fullness LIVING in the risen Jesus Christ! The great Catholic theologian and scientist Dr. Teilhard de Chardin sums this very well by saying, “the quintessential good and beauty in life is what each has to offer to others valuing the gesture ourselves into confluence with the word of God…..and the most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of oneself to others.“
– Tim Lynch, Ph.D