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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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EVANGELISATION NEEDS FURTHER DRIVE

Is it not true that everything about the Catholic Church has an evangelical value? Of course, it is; even our “common” signposts pass a message of faith. But this loose understanding should not stop the actual promotion of the faith, which every member of the Church must be doing.

Despite the challenges of the contemporary time, countless opportunities are equally available which can be harnessed for the good of our evangelisation effort. Regrettably, many faithful don’t realise their rightful place within the Body of Christ let alone identify these amazing opportunities. Indeed, the labourers are few, but “The harvest is plenty….” Many Catholics are living as if they are strangers in the Church, particularly as far as evangelisation is concerned. There are those who are not well informed on how to be personally involved in this project of the Church. They feel that evangelisation is the work of the Pope or a certain class of the faithful alone. Some others say they desire to be part of the project but do not have the right platforms to operate.

Whatever be the case, since one cannot give what one does not have (nemo dat quod non habet), the premium one puts on the faith determines one’s attitude to evangelisation. The way one promotes the faith shows how much one cares for it. Put differently, engaging in evangelisation confirms one’s level of faith. Could anyone be sure that those who are not proud to share the faith would actually live the life? No.

Everyone condemns the mercantile approach of some new-age bodies who merely exploit the Christian message for purely economic reasons, but should we, who have a tradition which has stood the test of time, be missing in action? Yet we know that nature abhors a vacuum and once the desirable is not available for people, the available becomes desirable.

Evangelisation is not the work of a select few alone. It is the business of all of us and all must be interested. That is why we are in the Church. Time has come for every Catholic to ask himself or herself, “How much am I doing in order to make Christ known?” The Gospel needs no advertising agents when you and I are there. As faithful, we are in the Church for no other business except to make Christ known. Should we not get serious with it?

If a great number of people, particularly around us, are still ignorant of Christ, it is because we have failed in our collective responsibility. We share in the blame. And if they are not educated thoroughly by us through necessary means, they may want to excuse themselves for their ignorance.

It is said that Catholics don’t make noise about their faith because a good wine needs no push or advertisement. But God forbid that this is as a result of pride, ignorance, or laziness in undertaking the task of evangelisation. Already, the impression outside is that Catholics are a complacent group who would not let anyone know enough about them. Most people do not see us as being proud of our present status, and that is why our members are the targets of some modern churches.

These days, people, especially in business, seek ways to get ahead of one another “For the children of this world are wiser in their affairs than the children of the kingdom” (Luke 16:8). The Church is not in competition, yet we need to be sure we are on the right track in realising the mandate of Christ. Indeed, we are convinced that the Christian life is not about just hearing the word, what is important is leading the life. St Paul would ask, “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent…. Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ (Cf Rom 10:14-17).”

The mandate to make disciples of all the nations must keep us always on our feet. We must use all possible strategies to “sell” our message. For this to work, the right personnel would have to be trained and retrained; state-of-the-art gadgets have to be provided and the media has to be used in a grand and sustainable way. This is nothing of which to be scared. It is not beyond what members of the Church can do if truly evangelisation is a priority.

One feels proud to have one’s product being displayed and advertised. It gives one a great sense of pride. That is how we are to be when our message is out there. But what we have presently is a far cry from the reality of what is expected.  Except someone visits the Church, one is likely not to hear about the Catholic faith. Those who don’t visit the Church a whole day, a whole week, or as long as it is possible, are almost automatically cut off since there are no other places to hear anything about the Catholic Church. So, the Church environment is about the only place where our message is heard. It is very hard for anyone who does not come around to hear about us. This is not a good service to the faith. This approach must not continue. Assuming the early Christians or the missionaries were this lackadaisical, the faith would not have gone this far, and we ourselves might not have been converted.

Advertisers are convinced about their products and use all available techniques to get the attention and conviction of the potential consumers. If they do this in order to get a material benefit or favour, how much more should we do in proclaiming our faith which can earn us eternal life.

 


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