January 4, 2016
Today’s gospel: Matthew 4:12-25
We are Christians. We carry the name of Christ, we follow the way of Christ, and we do the work of Christ. What was Jesus’ ministry about? “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.” (v.23). There are three elements here, and they make up the fullness of what is evangelization.
The first element in evangelization is the proclamation of the gospel. It is speaking about the good news of salvation in Jesus, so that people might meet and begin to know Christ. In this step the process of conversion has started.
That is just the first step. From there, having met Christ and having been touched by him, one moves on to learn about his ways, with the intent of living according to such ways. Thus there has to be pastoral formation. Here one is taught about the faith. So one undergoes teachings, formation programs, recollections, retreats, and so on. One also begins to read the Bible and other Christian writings in order to grow on one’s own.
As one grows in the faith, as one discovers and lives the fullness of what it means to be a Christian, then one experiences liberation from what is not of God. One is liberated from sin, darkness, materialism, bondage, and even from physical diseases and illnesses. With the second and third elements, one is on the way to holiness and Christian perfection. That would then be the fullness of the intent of evangelization. That would then be the way by which one can really experience the fullness of salvation that Jesus offers. It is living Christ.
For all the above to happen in the life of a person, there has to be someone to proclaim the gospel, which is the very first step. One needs to share Christ. That is why Jesus called his first disciples (v.18-22), formed them, and later commissioned them to continue his work. This is the very reason why Jesus also calls us today. Like Jesus, like the apostles and disciples, we need to tell others of the good news and help bring them to the proper response. We “preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (v. 17).
The gospel is truly good news. It radically changes the lives of people. By and through the gospel, “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (v.16). From darkness to light, from death to life, from bondage to liberation–these are what the work of evangelization brings. This is the very work that we are privileged to do.
Jesus ministered to a great multitude. “His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.” (v.24-25). Today, as Jesus’ disciples, we minister to the whole world. We want all nations to know Christ, all in bondage to be healed and liberated, and all the peoples of the world to become his followers.
There is much work to be done. Let us be on our way.
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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