Many of us in the Church could be considered insane.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.