Sections 19 through 49 make up the first of five chapters of Evangelii Gaudium, “The Church’s Missionary Transformation.” We’ll take about a month to review one of the two shorter chapters in this document.
What if Jesus were to tell a believer to do something. Would the person do it? Would the person do it without hesitation, without complaint, without delay? Jesus didn’t give many direct commands in the Gospel. We focus on his Beatitudes. There are no shalt’s and shalt not’s in that list of eight.
But Jesus did give his disciples a commandment. How often is that chiseled in stone in front of our religious buildings?
19. Evangelization takes place in obedience to the missionary mandate of Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). In these verses we see how the risen Christ sent his followers to preach the Gospel in every time and place, so that faith in him might spread to every corner of the earth.
In the past, maybe (but maybe not) we can be forgiven for understanding this passage to apply to apostles long, long ago. But no longer, I’d say. Make disciples: the commandment of the Lord. It can’t get any more direct than that. But Christians through the ages have sure found ways to circumvent, haven’t we?
Perhaps it will take a transformation for us to get on board, won’t it?