meet Jesus here
and come to life
WHY EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP?
because Jesus is everything
EVERY PERSON IS CALLED TO SAINTHOOD: TO A LIFE OF INTIMACY, ABUNDANT LIFE AND HOLINESS.
EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW JESUS + EXPERIENCE THE TRANSFORMATION THAT WE CAN ONLY FIND IN HIM
EVERYPERSON CAN BE EQUIPPED TO FOLLOW JESUS: TO DISCOVER THEIR UNIQUE VOCATION + MISSION.
what's it all about
Christ commands us to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. We are to proclaim his Good News to all people, everywhere and at all times. After Christ promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, he ascends into heaven. The disciples, rather than heeding Christ’s command to be his witnesses, stare “intently at the sky.” It takes “two men dressed in white garments” asking, “Men of Galilee, why are you . . . looking at the sky?” for the disciples to begin to realize the meaning of Christ’s command (Acts 1:10-11).
How often do we fail to realize that we are called to be Christ’s witnesses to the world? Do we realize that our Baptism, Confirmation, and reception of the Eucharist bestow on us the grace we need to be disciples? Are we like the disciples staring at the sky rather than inviting those around us to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Church? How often do we reach out to our missing brothers and sisters by inviting them to join us at Mass or by asking why they no longer feel welcomed at the Lord’s Table?
The answers to these questions underlie the evangelizing mission of the Church, especially in the call of the New Evangelization. The New Evangelization seeks to invite modern man and culture into a relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. The New Evangelization strives to engage our culture and to help us draw our inspiration from the Gospel. The New Evangelization calls all Catholics first to be evangelized and then in turn to evangelize. While it is directed to all people, the New Evangelization focuses specifically on those Christian communities that have Catholic roots but have “lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church.”1
Our role both clergy and laity alike is to -
to reach out to those who have never heard the gospel proclaimed (initial evangelization)
to re-engage those who are baptized but have lost a living sense of the faith in their daily lives (re-discovering faith)
to engage more intently those who are faithful and need to be renewed with increased catechesis (evangelizing catechesis). (See 2013-2016 USCCB Strategic Plan for the New Evangelization, www.usccb.org/about/ strategic-plan.cfm.)
let's define our terms here
Evangelization is, very simply, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus to those around us.
The term “new evangelization" means that the Church in our time exists in a vastly changed situation. It is not that the Gospel has changed, but that we are called to a renewed effort that is new in ardor, method + expression.
Evangelization is not only for those in distant lands who have never heard the Gospel, but to those around us in our post-Christian society. The new “mission territory” is our own neighborhoods, workplaces, schools + even our own homes.
The invitation to believe in the Gospel is always personal: it is not a moral program but the offer of communion with a person, Jesus.
The “kerygma” is the New Testament word for the simple, radical, countercultural and joyful message of the Gospel — that “initial ardent proclamation by which a person is one day overwhelmed and brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith."
-Unleash the Gospel
Jesus did not tell his disciples to stay inside + just welcome who shows up at the Church’s door, but to go out: “Go and make disciples of all nations". Mission cannot be accomplished from within the walls of our church. Jesus didn't remain in the synagogue with the devout people; he went out to the tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor, the sick and sinners.
Disciple means "student". We are called to be students of Jesus Christ: to follow, listen, and learn from Jesus (Jn. 1:38-39, Lk. 10:38-42, Mt. 11:29).
Being a disciple of Christ is never static; it is always dynamic, always a process of growth and of “following Him on the way” (Mk 10:52).
Because we adopt the "mind of Christ", disciples of Jesus don't just see some things differently, they see everything differently.
An apostle is a disciple of Jesus who has both repented and converted his or her heart to Jesus, but has also had a conversion to Christ's mission. An apostle has been commissioned.
Disciples will make any sacrifice to grow in relationship with Jesus. Apostles will make any sacrifice to help another grow in their relationship with Jesus.
"The New Evangelization is not a membership drive, nor is it an effort to shore up a code of conduct. Rather, it is a love affair. All are invited to encounter Jesus and let their hearts be captured by Him."
"To live fully as a disciple is to make disciples."
"Sharing the Gospel is only the beginning of evangelization. Those who are being evangelized need time to assimilate the Gospel and bring their lives into conformity with it...We are all in need of constant evangelization, because we are in need of deeper conversion."