Both the third chapter of ‘Joy of the Gospel’ and our readings this week are concerned with the same element of evangelization: how we transmit the Gospel from person to person. While the central task of telling people about Jesus might seem simple, there is a lot we can do to help that seed take root! Let’s turn to our readings this week and explore some of the ways we can up our evangelistic efforts!
Let’s start with Paul’s words in the second reading, reminding us of the core truth we share in the Gospel: What God has done for us is a total gift, merited by His sheer selfless love, rather than anything we’ve done to ‘earn’ it. Paul’s proof of God’s love is the core message at the heart of the Gospel: ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!’
Skipping back to the first reading, this scripture comes from the Israelite’s time in the desert. The Israelites fall into grumbling that God has not provided them with the water they need to live, as if God just led them to the desert to die! However, neither God nor Moses abandons the people during this dry period of faith and Moses’ persistent accompaniment and intercession helps them to realize God’s presence once again.
Lastly Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman demonstrates the reality that all are called to be disciples. In the dialogue between the two of them, it’s clear that the woman struggles to pick up some of the truths that Jesus puts before her, yet her thirst for truth and for God leads her to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and then to invite others to Him!
Three things emerge from the readings this week. First, the importance of the kerygma: the Father’s boundless love expressed through the Son, opening up a renewed relationship with God. Second, the necessity of accompaniment during conversion. How badly would the Israelites have fared if there was no Moses to share in their struggles! And lastly, that evangelization is not based on training, but rather on encounter with Jesus and a lived faith in Him! This is why Pope Francis reminds us that we are ALL called to be missionary disciples: the kerygma, accompaniment, and missionary zeal are gifts of our baptismal grace, and gifts which we are all called to share! Let us be generous with them!
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