Evangelii Nuntiandi 22

The witness is a first and necessary step. Then comes the proclamation of the Lord:

22. Nevertheless this always remains insufficient, because even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified – what Peter called always having “your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have”[1 Pt 3:15] – and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. The history of the Church, from the discourse of Peter on the morning of Pentecost onwards, has been intermingled and identified with the history of this proclamation. At every new phase of human history, the Church, constantly gripped by the desire to evangelize, has but one preoccupation: whom to send to proclaim the mystery of Jesus? In what way is this mystery to be proclaimed? How can one ensure that it will resound and reach all those who should hear it? This proclamation – kerygma, preaching or catechesis – occupies such an important place in evangelization that it has often become synonymous with it; and yet it is only one aspect of evangelization.

So when we are asked, we do not cite catechism section and number. We refer to the name, message, life, promises, rule, and mystery of Jesus. And whether is takes place in the coffeehouse, the classroom, or the church, it is only one step.

My sense is that every single believer is called to the first step: the life witness. It is with EN 22 that the spiritual gifts of the Body are discerned and sorted based on the needs of the listeners, the newcomers.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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