All the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples5

All the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelisation, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelisation to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients.

The New Evangelisation calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptised.

Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in Evangelisation; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.

Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’, but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples’.

If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: ‘We have found the Messiah!’ 6

The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans come to believe in him ‘because of the woman’s testimony’ 7

So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, ‘immediately proclaimed Jesus’ 8

Of course, all of us are called to mature in our work as evangelisers. We want to have better training, a deepening love and a clearer witness to the Gospel. In this sense, we ought to let others be constantly evangelising us.

But this does not mean that we should postpone the evangelising mission; rather, each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are.

All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us His closeness, His word and His strength, and gives meaning to our lives.

In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without Him. What you have come to realise, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others.

Our falling short of perfection should be no excuse; on the contrary, mission is a constant stimulus not to remain mired in mediocrity but to continue growing.

 

Adapted from Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 120-121
5 cf. Mt 28:19
6   Jn 1:41
7   Jn 4:39
8 Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21

This article can be found in Mirror 0715.