ON the Feast of St. Mark, the Evangelist, we are reminded that all of us, like St. Mark, are asked by Christ to also “go into the whole world and to proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16,15).
That is simply the effect and consequence of being a Christian who is supposed to be like Christ and to share his mission of evangelizing and redeeming everyone. We also have to apply to ourselves those words Christ told his apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so also I am sending you.” (Jn 20,21).
Evangelization is an integral and indispensable part of the whole mission of Christ—the redemption of mankind. While it may immediately concern itself in the transmission of the doctrine of our faith, it cannot go alone without being vitally and organically connected to the other aspects of human redemption.
It should not be understood simply as a matter of giving talks, classes, homilies and the like. It should not be understood simply as a matter of transmitting the doctrines and truths of our faith. We have to understand that truth is not simply a matter of doctrine. It has to involve the whole of human life. It just cannot be ideas. It has to be life itself.
We need to understand that evangelization is the transmission of Christian life that obviously involves doctrines that affect all our life. It should not just affect us intellectually or emotionally. It has to affect our whole life, our whole being, to such an extent that we get transformed into another Christ as we are meant to be.
As a consequence, for us to evangelize, we should feel the seriousness of Christ’s words commissioning us to go to the whole world and to preach the gospel. We should not just do evangelization purely as a human initiative. It is Christ who commands us to do so. We have to spend time to process this truth about evangelization in our mind and heart.
Then we obviously need the grace of God who actually gives it to us abundantly. The challenge is how we are corresponding to that grace. Do we study the gospel and the doctrines contained in it? Do we internalize them, making them flesh of our flesh and the spirit that animates our soul?
As an effect, a certain zeal to evangelize should develop in us. Do we feel the urge to really go out, meet people and talk with them, eager to edify them with our words and example? For this, we should be willing to make all kinds of sacrifices. And to carry out this duty, do we find ways that are adapted to how the people are?
We need to see to it that when we talk with the people, we manage to be in the same wavelength. We have to know how to be intellectual with the intellectuals, practical with the practical-minded, etc. In other words, we should try our best to be all things to all men, as St. Paul said, (cfr. 1 Cor 9,22) and as Christ himself personified. With God’s grace and our effort, we can hack it.
Again, we have to remember that the effectiveness of our evangelization can only come from our true identification with Christ. Effective evangelization can only be an overflow of our own sanctification, our own effort to be like Christ.