GMD 34-37: How Evangelization Happens in the Life of the Church

Sections 34 through 44 in Go and Make Disciples address the question: How Evangelization Happens? Let’s look at a few sections today.

GMD 34 reminds us of the role of the Holy Spirit. It is through the grace of the Holy Spirit that evangelization takes place at all.

In GMD 35-37, the bishops look at Evangelization “in the Life of the Church.”

The bishops list “familiar ways by which evangelization happens”:

  • by the way we live God’s love in our daily life;
  • by the love, example, and support people give each other;
  • by the ways parents pass faith on to their children;
  • in our life as Church, through the proclamation of the Word and the wholehearted celebration of the saving deeds of Jesus;
  • in renewal efforts of local and national scope;
  • in the care we show to those most in need;
  • and in the ways we go about our work, share with our neighbors, and treat the stranger.

Hmm. The Church has always done these things. More or less. What’s the difference for today/1992? Perhaps that we see these acts as being less part of parish programs and more as an intentional way to develop the Church: planting seeds, tilling and watering, harvesting a result.

Ideally, Catholic Christian believers interact with others “in daily life” and “through ordinary patterns.” (GMD 35)

What do these interactions look like? There are two elements: witness and sharing.

When believers do things in the name of Christ and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they give witness. Does a person witness who mops a floor and does other menial work? Maybe. If their life and action reflects the life of Christ: caring, considerate, attentive, and such.

This has to be true because we certainly know ministers, even clergy, who perform their duties, perhaps very correctly, but with a functionality that excludes people and their Lord.

What about sharing? There may be a certain reticence to that term: talking about my faith? Perhaps it is not always about talking. The bishops ask two important questions:

Does their living faith lead to the conversion of minds and hearts to Jesus Christ? Does the fire of the Holy Spirit blaze in them? (GMD 37)

The bishops explicitly state that they want the notion of sharing faith with others to be a concrete result of this document, and the follow-up. That person who mops the floor … if a person conducts a life that leads others to faith, to curiosity about faith, to a few starter questions about God, then it seems the sharing element is present.

What do you think?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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