How Can We Keep Evangelizing?
I’ve had a person a day lately ask me (with some despair) how on earth we’re supposed to evangelize right now.
When people are in pain, they need the Divine Physician all the more. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is absolutely not the time to shrink back from evangelization. It is the time to lean in.
Let’s be honest. This crisis we are in has a physical manifestation, but it is a spiritual crisis. That means that we need to spiritually respond. Yes, repentance, yes, justice but also yes, SPREAD THE GOSPEL far and wide. Satan hates that–It’s what he’s trying to prevent.
Among many other things, this crisis calls each and every Catholic to ask: do you trust Jesus to bring good out of evil, or not? Do you trust Jesus, period? Do you believe that Jesus can and will work in these horrible circumstances?
One of the keys to evangelization is trust. I understand people ask “how can we evangelize now?” because trust is so damaged. But guess what? YOU be the trust. Be the bridge of trust for someone else. If they trust you, you can lead to the One who is trustworthy.
Evangelization is inherently local. That is, its built on relationships, a person at a time. And there is no better time than right now to reach out to ppl who are confused & hurting, ppl who need to be heard & ppl who need to be introduced to Christ for the ultimate healing.
Evangelization is a work of mercy. It is an act of friendship and love. And in truth, it is not optional. The Great Commission has no asterisk that points to “exception made when it’s hard.”
Maybe we can turn to the gospels again and remember that the gospel was not first embraced by those expected. It was the people in need who knew their need. Children, women, Galileans, the poor, the sick, the outcasts. Christianity has rarely thrived first among the status quo.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus came for every human being and wants every human beings salvation. But maybe American Catholicism has become a little too status quo. Maybe we need to look at to our roots to know how to be humble and trust in the Lord’s provision.
I wish we weren’t in this crisis, b/c it has hurt so many people so badly–first and foremost the victims of sexual abuse. But I know God raises the saints necessary for every era. I fully expect great evangelists to come out of this tragedy & evil. It’s my prayer tonight that maybe one will be you, reading this here tonight.
By: Susan Windley-Daoust, Director of Missionary Discipleship at the Diocese of Winona-Rochester