Evangelization as a Catholic
Many people, when they hear the word Evangelization, have images of having to go door to door telling people about God or standing on a street corner talking about Jesus. There seems to be a common attitude among people today that it is important for me to have my faith, but I find it uncomfortable or even disrespectful to try and have others believe the same things I do. In other words, you believe what you want and I will believe what I want and never the twain shall meet. Sharing our faith with others, especially those who are not Catholic, presents us with a challenge.
In the Gospel we heard the apostles say, “increase my faith.” How appropriate is that to the word-evangelization. All of us when we are born are offered the gift of faith by God. Through the course of our lives and the teaching and modelling of our parents, godparents, teachers, catechists, and other important people, that faith hopefully grows each and every day. We are evangelized by these experiences. We become closer to God, many times without knowing it, simply because of the people who share their faith with us. Our faith grows through being part of a family, a community, and a Church. But there comes a time when that faith cannot be kept inside of us. It must be shared with others. That is what evangelization is all about.
When it comes to a faith community wherever you may belong, every ministry and every parishioner should be an evangelizer. After all that is what God wants from us- to spread the Good News. Now it doesn’t mean all of us have to go and stand on the corner speaking about God. People can be evangelizers and be evangelized in many different ways.
The first step is we need to take stock of our own faith life. How comfortable do we feel with our faith? If someone were to ask us about our faith, could we talk about it without apology? Could we explain the doctrines all of us profess every week? So the first step is to start or continue to learn, about our faith. This has often been called the New Evangelization.
Second, we need to look at our families. Is there someone in our family that has come to us asking questions about God? Do we spend time explaining to them our beliefs in a charitable and loving way? If we are parents or grandparents we can pray before meals or before bed thanking God for our day. We can have religious articles in our homes such as Bibles and rosaries, to show that faith is part of our family and not just something you do on a Sunday. We can discuss the homily, the readings, or other experiences of the Mass, on the way home from church every week. These are just some of the ways we can evangelize within our families.
Finally we can evangelize through our involvement and service in ministry to the parish. We can evangelize by the way we live in the world; by the way we treat co-workers and others we encounter every day.
In other words, being an evangelizing people means we learn about our faith, we teach our faith, and we live our faith through word and deed. I think if all of us reflected for a moment we could certainly say we are all able to help Jesus increase the faith of others. So yes, we are all evangelizers!
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