My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, the community of St. John celebrates their Patronal Festival, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. The understanding is that the community named in honour of St. John is expected to make evangelism the focus of its mission and ministry. It is however important that we remind ourselves that evangelism is the responsibility of the entire church. Evangelizing is the witness of the whole church to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the world.
It is the good news that in Christ, God’s saving activity in the world is taking place. This saving activity is proclaimed and experienced in God’s love. We respond to our experience of God’s love by our lives of discipleship and commitment. It is through evangelism that conversion to Christian faith and belief takes place. This conversion is a gradual process, as we continue to be formed in Christ, and live the Jesus-shaped life.
May I suggest that most of what we do as church should be grounded in proclaiming the good news of God’s salvation in Christ. The most powerful way to understand that good news, is to experience God’s love. In reality, it is as we experience God’s love, that we will be emboldened to share the good news, not only by our words, but just as importantly by our actions. Evangelism, therefore, is both word and action. In reality, we give integrity and credability to the things we say as Christians by demonstrating, in general and in authentric ways, God’s love.
The love of God, brothers and sisters, is not just the things we say, but the way we relate to others. The challenges, conflicts, tension and fear which now envelop our world, even our homes and families, demand that we seek the guidance and direction of God’s Holy Spirit to point us to ways to love others. As the church, we must be in the very forefront of this mission to demonstrate love that is true and real.