Countless scripture stories point toward Jesus as the Good News for all humanity. Through his life, ministry, teaching, healing, death, and resurrection, he speaks the words of eternal life. Since that time, no story has been quite as powerful as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.When we enter into the story of Christ’s coming, we are awed by the goodness of such news. We have a God who is so passionately in love with his own creation that he places himself at the mercy of his own creatures, only to be misunderstood, rejected, and ultimately to die for them. And in an act of inconceivable love, he stretches himself across the abyss of heaven and earth, bringing us eternal union with our creator.
Evangelization starts with carrying the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. If we take this definition literally, then Mary, the Mother of God, is the first evangelist, because she literally carried Jesus into the world. Her “yes” to the Incarnation and her immediate visit to Elizabeth are examples of evangelization and shared faith. St. John the Baptist, who preached the coming of the Messiah, is another example.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we can sense the power of this news and the centrality of the call to evangelize. We meet Peter, the foundation of the Church, and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who remained faithful to this call, even to their deaths. Along with many other disciples, they ensured a strong foundation for the Church as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. Each time a Christian community took root, the members of that community would spread the Good News to more inhabitants of their cities. Ultimately, they brought the seeds of faith into many cities and countries. In this way, they were evangelizing.
We can emulate these forebears by emulating the faithful assent of Mary, the courage of John the Baptist, and the supportive encouragement of community that fostered the zeal of Peter and Paul.
The next time you listen to the New Testament readings during Mass, or reflect on Scripture on your own or as part of a small faith-sharing group, be attuned to the many instances and types of evangelization. These insights, offered by the Holy Spirit, can point to ways that you can evangelize in your daily life.
Want to meet a current-day evangelizer with courage and zeal? Watch Javier's story: To Be a Witness, Take a Risk.