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North County Deanery Corpus Christi Procession

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Archbishop Fulton Sheen Pilgrimage

Friday, 06/16/2023 at 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

ASK | Relationship with Jesus is foundation of evangelization

As Catholics, we need to be asking ourselves how we can share the story of Jesus and invite others to a deeper relationship with Him

Many of us in the Church could be considered insane.

We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, when it comes to evangelization and discipleship, we’ve got a major problem in the Church right now … insanity.

Don’t get me wrong here. What makes us Catholic is that we are rooted and grounded in Scripture and tradition, and it’s not that the Church’s teachings “need to get with the times.” Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. What we need to evaluate is how we evangelize.

I previously wrote an article on how we need our dreamers to start speaking up. If we were building from scratch at the moment, what would we build? What would our parishes look like? That’s the institutional side of the challenge before us. But what about the personal side?

What does the new evangelization demand of you?

First and foremost, as Catholics, we are not very practiced at sharing our own faith experiences with others. Even though we pray together, we simultaneously keep our faith lives and experiences to ourselves far too often. The apostles were not sent to share an ideology or a moral compass with people they encountered. They shared a relationship that they had with the person of Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of evangelization. No relationship, nothing to share.

Everyone has a story. What’s yours? If someone walked up to you and told you that they had never heard of Jesus before, what would you say? The truth is, many people have heard about the idea of Jesus, but they haven’t heard about Him. This is the bridge we need to cross in evangelization. However, this demands vulnerability on the part of the evangelizer.

My director of evangelization says that we have to get used to leaving our comfort zones if we are going to be able to make an impact in people’s lives and invite them into a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Church. You might think that “My story isn’t impressive enough,” “people will think I’m a Jesus freak or Bible thumper” or that I’m being judgmental towards them. Yep. Maybe. Get over it. Discouragement is the devil’s primary weapon against evangelization. Fear and discouragement should never be what dictates our actions. Faith, hope and love should.

Evangelization also demands creativity on our part. St. Paul wrote that he became all things to all people. We can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to us. We need to be as clever as serpents and as simple as doves in today’s society to find ways to engage people in the Gospel.

Evangelization requires flexibility on our parts. We can’t think to ourselves “well, this is what worked for me, so it should work for everyone else.” Evangelization is not a “one size fits all” endeavor. We need to be men and women of discernment who are able to let go of what doesn’t work in order to follow the Spirit’s lead.

So the question is … what do you look like in the new evangelization? What gifts, talents, or life experiences has God given to you to share with others? What is God asking you to do right now, today, to spread the Good News? I can assure you the answer isn’t “Nothing.” That’s just insane.

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