EG 269: Finding Joy and Meaning in Evangelization

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneExtroverts, introverts, or whomever. How do we evangelize? To whom can we look for a model, other than a tele-preacher, of course? If we are looking to get to the heart, and not just the mind, then we all know the answer:

269. Jesus himself is the model of this method of evangelization which brings us to the very heart of his people. How good it is for us to contemplate the closeness which he shows to everyone! If he speaks to someone, he looks into their eyes with deep love and concern: “Jesus, looking upon him, loved him” (Mk 10:21). We see how accessible he is, as he draws near the blind man (cf. Mk 10:46-52) and eats and drinks with sinners (cf. Mk 2:16) without worrying about being thought a glutton and a drunkard himself (cf. Mt 11:19). We see his sensitivity in allowing a sinful woman to anoint his feet (cf. Lk 7:36-50) and in receiving Nicodemus by night (cf. Jn 3:1-15). Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is nothing else than the culmination of the way he lived his entire life.

Are these examples enough? Plenty of material here for deep reflection. In addition to these specific passages, another approach might be to sit and read the entire Gospel of Mark with just one thing in mind: to watch Jesus and attend carefully to what he does.

Once we have integrated his example into our praxis, what then?

Moved by his example, we want to enter fully into the fabric of society, sharing the lives of all, listening to their concerns, helping them materially and spiritually in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to building a new world. But we do so not from a sense of obligation, not as a burdensome duty, but as the result of a personal decision which brings us joy and gives meaning to our lives.

Pope Francis is suggesting we take on not only the actions of the Lord: listening, healing, being in dialogue. He suggests that as we go deeper into the life and example of the Lord, that we will find the inner motivation. We will find it as we imitate Christ. We will receive it if we ask for it.

Online: Evangelii Gaudium.

About catholicsensibility

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