I wonder if you have the heart of an Evangelizer? We Catholics haven’t been too good with evangelization and to some extent many of us have never been evangelized. One diagnosis common today is that many Catholics are “sacramentalized but unevangelized.” What this means is that many Catholics have received sacraments and many even go to Church regularly but they have never really met Jesus Christ. They have heard about him, read about him, be told of him, but never really met him. Many in fact do not expect to meet him but are content to live their faith by inference. In other words they are content to have their faith based merely on the fact that someone they trust has told them. “Jesus is Lord because my pastor told me or my mother told me…” and so forth. Now this is a very good start, faith DOES come by hearing. But at some point we have to personally know for ourselves that Jesus is Lord and that he is risen and is at the Father right hand and is ministering to me. At some point the Good News has to become powerfully personal and evident to us. At some point he have to meet Jesus Christ.
Have you? Once we have really met Jesus it is pretty hard to stay quiet about him. Have you ever experienced really good news? You couldn’t wait to tell some one could you? Well, have you ever felt this way about the Lord Jesus? Have you ever expected to feel this way about the Lord? If not why not?
And that brings us back to evangelization. Once you’ve been evangelized (i.e. met Christ) you’re ready to be an evangelizer because now you can say,
Let me tell you what the Lord has done for me! I’ve met the Lord and he’s changing my life. There are sins I used to commit that I don’t commit any more. I used to be so much more resentful, angry, lustful, greedy, self-centered and unloving. But little by little I’m more serene, joyful, able to love, more generous and so on. If you’ve met Christ you’ve got a testimony.
As a Catholic you also ought to be able to testify how the Lord has ministered to you in the liturgy and the Sacraments:
I just don’t know where I’d be today if the Lord hadn’t fed me on his Body and Blood, taught me through his scriptures, and healed me in confession. The Lord is the physician of my soul and He’s healed me through the medicine of his Word and the Sacraments.
Can you testify like this? You don’t have to be a finished product. You still have your sins and shortcomings. Just say “I’m not what I want to be but I’m not what I used to be.”
But be an evangelizer. In four steps:
- Get to know Jesus Christ. Get to know that he’s real! How? Ask him!
- Reflect on your life story; your testimony. Think back on all the ways the Lord has blessed you and ministered to you in his word and in the sacraments, in your prayer and your your daily life. This is Good News.
- Tell someone your good news. Be personal but authentic to Church teaching and scripture.
- Invite someone: “Come and go with me to my Father’s house.
Don’t be satisfied with anything less than a Christianity that is real. Merely intellectual won’t do. The intellect is important but at some point you have to personally know and experience that Jesus and all he has taught is real. And you have to be able to testify to what you know as a first hand witness. We Catholics have to rediscover that to know Jesus and experience the Good News of a life that is changing is the heart of evangelization. We cannot merely know at an intellectual level. He have to know in the biblical sense of the word. In the Bible the verb “know” always means more that intellectual knowing. It means to have deep intimate, personal experience of the thing or person known. To know biblically is about experience more than what’s in a book. Do you know Jesus?
Here is a music video I put together. The Soloist is Gwen Miles, the Accompanist is Kenneth Louis. Both are from my parish of Holy Comforter-St.Cyprian here in Washington. They sing a song that reminds us that Jesus is real and that the normal Christian Life is to know, to experience just how real is is.