What is a pen for? … Writing
What is a book for? … Reading
What is wine for? … Drinking
What is a school for? … Learning
What is a shop for? … Shopping
What is the Church for?... ???? Ups! Looks like we’ve got stuck, doesn’t it?
If Jesus calls us in the Gospel to be servants and later he prayed for us to be one, which means that we are going to be occupied with something as a team, it looks like we are not synchronised yet. Servants in a household need to work as a team, don’t they? They synchronise even their clocks to make sure that their service is interconnected.
My Sisters and Brothers!
The first document of the Second Vatican Council authorized by Blessed Pope Paul VI was about the Liturgy. However it wasn’t about how to make Mass nice and relaxing. On the contrary in the first lines of the document we read about the need “to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of humankind into the household of the Church.” Some ten years later the same Pope wrote at the end of the synod of bishops a document called Evangelii nuntiandi where we read: “The Church exists in order to evangelise.”
So let me ask you now: What is the Church for? … Evangelising.
It couldn’t be clearer. The Church exists in order to evangelise. That means that if you are a member of the Church, then you are called to evangelise. That’s why if you ask yourself now: what is the Mission Sunday for? The answer is: To remind all of us that we are entrusted by Jesus Christ with the task of evangelising, not just some missionaries sent far away. We all are called to evangelise. That was the mission Jesus received from his Father as he said it in his first public sermon in Nazareth: “The Lord sent me to evangelise the poor.” Before he ascended to haven he sent his disciples to continue evangelising.
So, what does it mean to evangelise? It means that I am a servant of the Gospel. It doesn’t make me better that others but it makes me responsible to share the Good News of what God has done for the people in the death and Resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ. It is like delivering a letter or an email with good life changing news for the person. It is like updating a computer to utilise the most recent improvements in the field of technology. But here we are not talking about machines and technology; we are talking about people of whom God spoke: “You are precious in my sight. I love you.” (Is 43:4) and Jesus proved it by his death on the cross and his Resurrection. That’s what can be called the update for all women and men.
So how can we evangelise? Firstly by witness; the first and most important way to evangelise is to live our faith fully and joyfully. This is the witness of our life. Even nonbelievers can teach about Jesus but to evangelise one need to give their lives to the Lord. Evangelisers will always be impacted and influenced by the Gospel first so that those around them will ask: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one...All Christians are called to this witness, and in this way they can be real evangelisers.
Secondly, in the long run the Gospel needs to be explained, justified – what St Peter called “always having your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.” There is no true evangelisation if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed.
For many of us, this is the scary part, isn’t it? Perhaps the most powerful and simple way is to be ready to share our “own faith story” or “testimony.” This means sharing with another the story of how encountering Jesus Christ and following him has changed us and given us hope for the future. Do you have such a story to share?
So: What is the Church for? … Evangelising.