By Brian Moore
DURING this Lenten Season lets us all firmly resolve to come out of the wilderness and focus on Evangelisation.
In reflecting on Mark 7:24-30, I read “that alone in all the gospels, this Gentile woman gets the better of Jesus. A decisive woman, she goes into action as soon as she hears about him. She has a strong sense of herself: his dismissive remark does not diminish her. She sticks to what she wants, the cure of her little daughter. The dialogue teaches us all something about the directness of prayer: it is to be an interpersonal encounter with Jesus”.
It seems that the early church needed reminding that it was meant to reach out to the Gentiles (Non-Jews).
Pope Francis today is telling us, “That everyone must be an evangeliser, reaching out to the alienated”.
Jesus’ horizons are enlarged in this scene – perhaps ours can be widened in our place and time?
In the past few weeks I have spent a great deal of time in reflection, reading and searching Scripture and Christian devotionals concerning the topic of evangelisation. I honestly feel that we as Christians appear to be not doing well in this area.
Some of us are most reluctant to evangelise.
As Christians, we should not be frightened about the word evangelise and by what we perceive it may entail.
We have a wonderful opportunity when assisting those in spiritual or material need, to simply and effectively plant the seed and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
All it would require after assisting some person or persons would be a simple
“May God bless and thank you for allowing us to be of assistance to you or your family”.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”
I firmly believe that this commission given by Jesus was intended for the entire church, not only for pastors, evangelists and missionaries.
You would also note in Matthew 28:18-20 that Jesus also committed Himself to helping us by saying, “ and I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
It has been said that “Christians are living epistles…written by God and read by people.”
As Christians we may be the only Bible that some people are ever going to read. Should that be the case we had better make sure that the words and the music go together.
People will carefully watch every move we make to see if our faith is real.
Should people peek through the windows of our homes what would they see?
Would they see a family that really love each other?
Would they see unity and fellowship or would they see just another family arguing and struggling for positions of power?
In John: 13:34-35, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Without a doubt Jesus gave to us a simple format for evangelisation that we as Christians can simply put into effect, by recognising the suffering face of Jesus Christ in people who are hurting in material need or spiritually poor.
This gives us a wonderful opportunity to plant the seed. What a challenge.
We sit surrounded by God’s blessings and benefits, yet most of us have not told people that we work or live with about Jesus.
Did you ever hear the story about the woman who dreamt she walked into a new seed shop in the market place, and to her surprise, found God was behind the counter.
“What do you sell here?” she asked.
“Everything your heart desires,” God answered.
Hardly daring to believe what she heard, the woman decided to ask for the best things a human being could wish for.
“I want peace of mind, and love, and happiness, and wisdom, and freedom from fear,” she said.
Then as an after thought she added, “Not just for me; for everyone on earth.”
God smiled. “I think you have misunderstood, my dear,” He said. “We do not sell fruits here – only seeds.”
In conclusion here is a prayer that I feel we all need to pray today.
“Lord, grant to us Your servants that with all boldness we may speak Your word”.
If we don’t tell a lost world about Jesus, who will?
Brian Moore is the former president of the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland.