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So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Friday, December 11, 2015

Lest we forget the mission... . Proselytizing: no; evangelization, yes!

No one should be excluded from an opportunity to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. Everyone should be given an appropriate opportunity to encounter through the Church's witness the message of Jesus Christ.

No one should be excluded from being offered an invitation to new life. Everyone is invited: Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jains, atheists... . Everyone is invited to hear the message of redemption and newness of life! All, whether they realize their condition or not, are in need of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for all, to save us from sin and to raise us to new life.
The Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Catholics must eschew any form of anti-Semitism or, for that matter, anything anti-anyone. We are pro-Gospel! We proclaim the hope and joy of the Resurrection! Let all people share in the love and wonder of discipleship in Christ Jesus! We do not dwell on sin and depravity. We, like our Saviour, call people out of sin into the light and freedom of grace offered by God through faith in Jesus Christ. Our "selling point" is not condemnation, though we do identify problematic attitudes and behaviours like a physician who identifies disease and its cause in order to save his patient from death. Our raison d'être, our motivation, is love.
The Holy Gospel according to Saint John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
We love, because he (God) first loved us.—1 John 4:19

All people of every nation are invited to be saved from eternal death.

God respects our free will. We must freely choose to be His disciple because faith in Jesus Christ is a free gift of God. God desires friends, not slaves.
The Holy Gospel according to Saint John 15:15
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
All are invited to consider a free response to God's invitation to an intimate loving communion with Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church.

A loving proposal.

To propose the Gospel in a charitable way, because we believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life [St. John 14:6], is an obligation, privilege and a joy for anyone who calls himself a disciple of Jesus.

Be bold! Don't be a timid disciple of the Lord. When called upon, declare your love for the Lord with conviction.

Anyone—anyone!!!—who says that we should not propose the Gospel and witness to everyone, in word and deed in charitable ways, is sadly misinformed.

We are taught by the Holy Spirit: 
The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
And this:
Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence(.)—1 Peter 3:15.
And, finally, this:
First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 9:16 
For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
May all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Amen.

2 comments:

  1. I find the difference between proseletizing and evanglazing to be rather meaningless. And, I would guess I am just as dumb as the next RC.

    pros·e·lyt·ize
    ˈpräs(ə)ləˌtīz/
    verb
    convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.
    "the program did have a tremendous evangelical effect, proselytizing many"
    synonyms: evangelize, convert, save, redeem, win over, preach (to), recruit, act as a missionary
    "I'm not here to proselytize"
    advocate or promote (a belief or course of action).

    e·van·ge·lize
    əˈvanjəˌlīz/
    verb
    convert or seek to convert (someone) to Christianity.
    synonyms: convert, proselytize, redeem, save, preach to, recruit; More
    preach the Christian gospel.
    "the Church's mission to evangelize and declare the faith"

    In fact, my on line thesaurus shows proselytize as a synonym for evangalize.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @newguy40

      Your point is well taken, especially if one considers what one reads in/on/at many, if not most, online dictionaries/thesauri. Point of fact, it is only in recent decades that the word proselytize has taken on an exceedingly negative connotation. That may be due to the influence of or pressure to conform to political correctness.

      One might consider certain contemporary connotations or nuances generally understood or in use.

      1. "Believe it, or else."
      E.g., proselytize, nowadays, tends to refer to practices that employ coercive means to effect "conversion". One could add, in that sense or use of the word, that proselytizing robs people of a free choice. In other words, cults proselytize. Proselytizing tends to avoid or suppress the use of reason. Proselytizing leaves little room for discussion. Historically, a proselytizing attitude tended to see all pagan cultures as thoroughly evil.

      2. "Take it or leave it."
      To evangelize, by contrast, tends to affirm the action first and foremost of the Holy Spirit working through a witness (mediator) who proposes the Gospel to someone who then freely accepts the Lord's invitation to communion. Evangelization allows for either a sudden or a gradual awakening to and acceptance of the truth proposed, or for that matter, a rejection of said proposal. Evangelization, hopefully, should respect the intelligence of the person with whom one is speaking about the Gospel. Also, evangelization tends to refer to the wider mission of the Church and a range of modes or ways the Gospel is proclaimed: word and example. Evangelization tries to find truth and beauty and goodness in non-Christian cultures in order to bridge people's understanding to the Gospel.

      Thank you for your input!

      Peace,
      CS.

      Delete

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