All of us are called to be evengelisers
About 40 people turned up at the parish meeting room on March 15 to listen to Deacon Aloysius Tan talk on Evangelisation and You!
Deacon Tan started off by stressing that everyone of us is called to be Evangelisers. Then he asked the participants to share with one another on their understanding and expectation of ‘Evangelisation’.
After getting the input from the participants, Deacon Tan said, “The greatest evangeliser of all, of course, is Jesus Christ. How did he do his evangelizing work? Through his preaching, healing, miracles, out-reach with love, and finally through his passion, death and resurrection.”
He then gave the definition of ‘Evangelisation’ from the United States Bishops’ Document Go and Make Disciples — “bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself.”
Deacon Tan proceeded to explain that evangelization is not something new in the Church, as we can clearly see it in the New Testament. Some Bible verses were quoted by him to testify to that, especially from Luke 4:16-21, where the prophecy of Isaiah about proclaiming the Good News was read out by Jesus.
However, he said when the term ‘New Evangelisation’ came about, first propagated by the late Pope John Paul II, many people were confused. “New Evangelisation doesn’t mean that it is something new, but rather Pope John Paul II meant carrying this evangelisation message into the new millennium, with new methods and new focus for evangelisation.” According to Pope John Paul II, the New Evangelisation is :
— the responsibility of the entire People of God
— not just for the foreign missions (reevangelisation).
— directed to individuals and to whole cultures (a civilization of love).
— not limited to the presentation of the basic Gospel message (Kerygma) but is a comprehensive process of Christianisation.
— a missionary spirituality (intimate communion with God).
Deacon Tan then talked about evangelization through witnessing. He said that the best witness was the late Mother Teresa. He also mentioned that members of the Legion of Mary in the parish are good witnesses too.
“Evangelisation doesn’t mean that you have to convert a person, or to increase the baptism record in your parish.” Deacon Tan pointed out. “If you share the love of Christ with everyone, without conditions, and make people see Christ in you, it is a form of evengelisation, doesn’t matter if they are not converted.”
Participants were then asked to share on the joys and challenges of evangelization. He stressed that to be an evangeliser, one does not need special training or qualifications, and one can evangelise directly or indirectly.
To encourage the participants to ‘go and tell the story of Jesus’, he presented the ‘seven strengths’ that will push us forward in our quest to evangelise.
“First of all, we have prayers, followed by the Eucharist. The Word of God and the Magisterium are also our strengths. The Community is an important aspect. Then, we have our love that we put into action (Love in action). Finally, most important of all is the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us strength in everything we do.”
He ended his talk by firmly telling the participants not to ever forget that in evangelization, Jesus Christ is our source, and our ultimate goal is to share him. — By Lucia Lai
NOTE: This appeared in the Herald of 8 April 2012