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[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] Itís Time to Obey Christ and His Command that We Evangelize
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 9/1/2010 | Msgr Charles Pope

Posted on 09/02/2010 1:35:47 AM PDT by markomalley

The last words of someone are usually considered extremely important. Perhaps they express a final wish, or summarize what was most important to the person. Thus we do well to consider the final words of Jesus just before he ascended into heaven:

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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).

This is often called the “Great Commission” in the sense that it is the overarching mission, job one, the standing orders for the Church, for any Catholic. There is nothing ambiguous about it either. Jesus says go! But where Lord? Everywhere! Every nation, every person. And Do what? Make disciples of them by drawing them into the sacramental life of the Church through baptism and teaching them everything I have commanded. Finally He bids us have no fear of this for he is with us to the end.

Pretty clear, right? And yet it is possible for the Church, a parish or a Catholic to push Job One down the list. Pray, sure, attend Mass, OK, tithe, I’ll try. Evangelize? Oops, I’m a little busy and rather shy too, you understand…..

Time to Obey – After years of declining Mass attendance, churches closing, schools, seminaries and convents shuttering their doors, children and family members no longer practicing their faith, perhaps it is just time to get back into the business of obeying Jesus Christ and his command that we evangelize. It’s not the job of some committee in the parish, it’s your job and mine. It’s not merely the pastor’s job, it’s the parishioners too. Remember, shepherds don’t have sheep, sheep have sheep. It’s easy to blame the Church or the liturgy or poor catechesis but the primary place the faith is handed on in the family. Pastor’s have to lead but the Pastor isn’t at your dinner table every night, not at your workplace, family gathering or neighborhood meeting. All of us have to do this, all of us must obey.

A Parish that Obeys has a Future – In my own parish, after years of declining numbers we’ve decided to obey Christ. I had been assigned to this parish in the early 90s and Mass attendance was at about 800 each Sunday, about average for a city parish. I left to pastor elsewhere in the diocese and upon my return to this parish I noticed a much emptier Church and looked to the usher counts for recent Sundays: 482, 502, 473, 512. In ten years the count had dropped 38%. 300 people had drifted away.  People seemed unaware of this. When people disappear one by one over ten years it’s less noticeable. But I, returning after ten years noticed it. And my parish is not unique. Most parishes are down in numbers from what they used to be.

Now some folks like to “explain” declining numbers by talking about demographics, sociological trends, secularization and the like.  But thank God, I’m blessed with a parish that wants to hear from God, which knows that God can make a way out of no way, a parish which prays for their pastor to get a Word from the Lord. And the Lord did not disappoint. The word was simple, “Obey.”  Obey the great commission, obey Job One. The Lord seemed rather clear and put it on my heart to say to the Parish that if we will obey the Lord in this we have a future. If we do not obey him we do not deserve to exist. For too long the Catholic approach to evangelization was to open the doors and expect people to come. But Jesus sent them out to where people were to call and invite and evangelize. It’s time to obey.

So, for the past year we have been preparing through prayer and study to go forth in a door to door campaign into our neighborhood. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two and so we also will go in obedience. Almost Fifty people have agreed to make the weekly walk for 8 weeks starting September 11. Fifty will pray while we walk and others will prepare a meal on our return. We’re stepping out. I do not know if the Lord will give us many new souls or few but only this I know, if we obey, we have a future.

We are also reaching back into our families and inviting them back, listening to their concerns and setting forth a host of activities. These activities are  designed to draw them back and interest our neighbors so we can get to know them and make the invitation to be disciples. We will have concerts, the blessing of the animals, Bible studies, civic meetings etc. Anything to get folks here and meet them, befriend them and invite them to discipleship. Just the beauty of our building and joy of our parishioners preaches Christ. I preparation I’ve been walking the neighborhood and meeting people.

In the Archdiocese of Washington as well we are getting focused anew on Job One. The Archbishop is preparing a pastoral letter on Evangelization. He’s been restructuring the Central Pastoral Administration around the task of evangelizing. We’re reaching out in new ways such as this blog, and preparing to do far more by revamping the Website, reaching out through Youtube, podcasting, direct and targeted e-mail, focused facebook  pages and other social media. The Archbishop’s letter will reveal other plans as well. We want to be more pro-active and obey Christ by intensifying our work to explicitly evangelize using all the new methods available.

And perhaps you’ve heard that Catholic Radio has come in the last month to the Nation’s Capital: WMET 1160 AM. You can also stream the signal at their website here: http://grnonline.info/  The station presents EWTN programming and is part of the Guadalupe Radio Network. Soon enough, local programming will also be presented in addition to the EWTN lineup. This presents a great leap forward in the ability of the Archdiocese and the wider Church  to fulfill the mandate of Jesus to evangelize, to proclaim the Gospel to everyone.

And what of you? How do you obey the mandate of Christ to evangelize? Every Sunday at Mass you are sent forth by the deacon or priest with these words: The Mass is ended, go in peace.” There’s that word again: Go. It means “Go and tell someone what you have heard and seen. Tell someone of Jesus whom you have met in this liturgy and who has ministered to you with his Word and sacrament. Tell someone what a difference he has made in your life.”  Go.

These days evangelization comes in many different forms. Even if you’re shy, what does it take to do things like:

  1. E-mail a friend a link about a great blog post or article you read?
  2. Send the link to the new radio station: http://grnonline.info/.
  3. Send Links to YouTube videos that inspire.
  4. There are great Catholic Websites and blogs. The New evangelization has made it easier to connect people to answers and resources. Sites like www.newadvent.org  and the Catholic Answers website www.Catholic.com  are rich veins information and encouragement.

  5. Some of you who are technically savvy can help your pastor podcast his sermons or get them out on YouTube. Maybe you can help breathe new life into an out of date webpage.
  6. Talk to your family members who are fallen away and ask them “where it hurts.” Find out what has kept them away and share the story of your own faith.
  7. Get in the habit of inviting unchurched people to join you for special events at your parish. Not everyone is ready for a pew but a Chicken dinner might at least establish some connections where evangelization can take place.
  8. Tell folks you’re praying for them and actually do it. Ask for prayer requests.
  9. And pray, pray, pray for an increase, for a new springtime in the Church. Too many souls today are drifting and the Lord needs us to obey in order to save some.

The Bottom line is that we have got to get back into the business of obeying Jesus Christ in the mandate to Evangelize. To be a disciple means to obey. Jesus was not ambiguous about his final wish: Go, Go everywhere, in every available way. Go. Make disciples of everyone by drawing them into the sacramental life of the Church and teaching them everything the Lord has commanded. Go.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: msgrcharlespope

1 posted on 09/02/2010 1:35:51 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley; Judith Anne; Mad Dawg; MarkBsnr; Jvette; Deo volente; sitetest; bronx2; Petronski; ...
A very good article -- as Catholics we tend to not talk about our beliefs enough. One can be religious and not pushy and actually LIVE our faith.

We now have a marvellous opportunity to re-invigorate the Faith by reading, preaching, talking to each other.

Thank you Mark for this lovely article

In the Churches I went to in England and in the US (NY) and in India (bombay) and Hong Kong, there was a strong emphasis on this with a lot of laity organised events and a strong parish feel. Here in Poland it's not so strong, but the clergy are close to the people (I think the parish-laity focus should be stronger though).

What do you think we can do to strengthen our Small Christian Communities in the faith?
2 posted on 09/02/2010 3:10:00 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: Cronos

This article is lovely in spirit, but Christ was talking to the eleven.

It’s a great thought, but I was not called to evangelize. Especially the modern definition of it.
Personally, I take Matthew 7:16 “For every tree is known by its fruit.” and teach by example.

We do that in our parish and great improvements to the progressive parishes have come about. I can’t wait to see what the new Missal translation does there!


3 posted on 09/02/2010 4:40:27 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: netmilsmom

true — but even by your example, you evangelize! :)


4 posted on 09/02/2010 6:23:53 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: markomalley

Well, on this one we can agree! We are to speak out about Jesus and the free gift of Slavation He offers.

I pray that our voices rise.


5 posted on 09/02/2010 6:37:07 AM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: netmilsmom

So, you think that that message for the 11 was not also intended for you? or me?

You have the message of Salvation for lost people and you keep it silent?

You think mere actions or lifestyle is fuit? Speaking the Gospel is fruit also.

JMHO


6 posted on 09/02/2010 6:41:11 AM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: Cronos

Never thought about it that way. I guess we do!


7 posted on 09/02/2010 6:59:20 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: RoadGumby

>>So, you think that that message for the 11 was not also intended for you? or me?<<

No, I don’t.
If Christ wanted it to be inclusive, He would have made it that way.

I show my Christianity by my actions. The Truth will shine through.


8 posted on 09/02/2010 7:17:13 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: netmilsmom

That is an amazing satnce.

So, Jesus, telling His 11 disciples to ‘evangelize’, does not apply to us, because He was speaking directly to them.

Therefore:

Jesus talking to the adulterous woman “Go forth and sin no more” does not apply to us, we may do as we please.

Jesus Telling the Pharisees that they tithe, yet forsake caring for the poor, well He wasn’t speaking directly to me either. So, why do I help in clothing drives and such?

In fact, I can not find a single place where He speaks directly to me in black and white.

I would opine that ALL of Jesus words are for us to heed. All that He says is good to do is for us to do, and all that is bad or sinful is for us to reject.


9 posted on 09/02/2010 8:07:13 AM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: netmilsmom

All Catholics are called to evangelize. Holy Spirit, strengthen us!


10 posted on 09/02/2010 8:58:13 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: netmilsmom

This “non-denom Prot” can only say “Amen”


11 posted on 09/02/2010 8:59:48 AM PDT by investigateworld (Abortion stops a beating Heart)
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To: netmilsmom; nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
The words of Pope Paul VI inspire us- "In the long run, is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one's personal experience of faith?"
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Prayer for Evangelization

Loving God,
You called us each by name
And gave your only Son to redeem us
In your faithfulness
You sent the Holy Spirit
To complete the mission of Jesus
Among us

Open our hearts to Jesus
Give us the courage to speak his name
To those who are close to us
And the generosity to share his love
With those who are far away

We pray that every person
Throughout the world
Be invited to know and love Jesus
As Savior and Redeemer
May they come to know his all-surpassing love
May that love transform every element of our society

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord
Amen!

12 posted on 09/02/2010 9:12:24 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Evangelization consists of only two steps:

Contact
Invite

Start with family members
Then with relatives
Then with friends
Then with those you meet in the community.

Just share your experience of faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Contact

Invite.

There — that was painless, right?


13 posted on 09/02/2010 9:16:27 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: RoadGumby; netmilsmom

RG — I believe we all can evangelize in our own way. I’ll give the example of 3 priests in my ex-parish. One was a great preacher and could really grip an audience. The second was shy, quiet, an ok preacher but great at audio-visuals and at teaching in a classroom —> he led the bible studies. The third was shyier, could not really preach to save his life, but his very example was a strong message of Christ to me —> he taught the altarboys, was active in helping around the parish and quietly doing things. He wasn’t able to be very empathetic, but his actions, his prayers and his presence were pretty evangelizing.


14 posted on 09/02/2010 9:35:59 AM PDT by Cronos (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "Allah": Satan's current status)
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To: Cronos

Thank you!


15 posted on 09/02/2010 9:40:29 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: Cronos

Those are excellent examples. We actually do evangelize through our actions.

But I think we can do more by adding some words to our actions and talking with more people. Sure, it’s a risk, but did Christ and the apostles take risks in confronting the Pharisees and Sadduccees?

We need to follow their example.


16 posted on 09/02/2010 9:41:52 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: RoadGumby

>>I would opine that ALL of Jesus words are for us to heed. All that He says is good to do is for us to do, and all that is bad or sinful is for us to reject.<<

I gather you are not Catholic.


17 posted on 09/02/2010 9:45:11 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: Salvation

>>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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).<<

So is this a call for you to Baptize?
No.
He is talking to the Priests here.
I believe that Catholics are called to share their faith. We do it in words and deeds. If I pray outside an abortion clinic, some may call that evangelicalism, to me, it’s not.

I live my faith. I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with it.


18 posted on 09/02/2010 9:49:23 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: RoadGumby

Sorry, I corrected after I hit the post button and the rest of my post didn’t come up. I went on as if it did then saw it.

I meant, by asking if you were Catholic, whether or not you believe in the Priesthood. I do.

Christ here was talking to His Priests. They Baptize, other Catholics do not.


19 posted on 09/02/2010 9:53:07 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: netmilsmom

I am not Catholic. Silly question to ask if I believe in Priests (or Pastors).

And we are all to be ‘priests’ in Heaven. The Bible tells us that. Sad to think that you might bring someone to Christ with a frew words, yet you decline, because, that’s the Priests job.

Yes we all have gifts to use, but ALL can speak of the love of Jesus and the Salavation He offers us.


20 posted on 09/02/2010 12:28:11 PM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: RoadGumby
You think mere actions or lifestyle is fuit?

My mother-in-law entered the Catholic Church this past Easter because the mere actions and lifestyle of her daughter (and apparently me... the mind boggles) gave her the idea that maybe we had something she wanted too. It took 15 years, but she has directly confirmed that if we'd spent that time hammering her with Scripture and doctrine it wouldn't have worked.

There is a time for instruction, there is also a time for a living witness, confusing the timing can lead to disaster. Not everyone is equally suited for the task of instruction, a quick look around the religion forum proves that. I know I'm not, except in very few circumstances.

Everyone wants to be the mouth, nobody wants to be a toe.

21 posted on 09/02/2010 1:20:43 PM PDT by Legatus (From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.)
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To: Legatus

Then, by all means, be silent


22 posted on 09/02/2010 1:22:49 PM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: RoadGumby
Dear RoadGumby,

“I am not Catholic.”

This is a Catholic caucus thread. According to the Religion Moderator's rules, it isn't a place for non-Catholics to come and dispute with Catholics.

Posting rules for the Religion Forum can be found at this link:

http://www.freerepublic.com/~religionmoderator/index?U=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.freerepublic.com%2Fperl%2Fpings


sitetest

23 posted on 09/02/2010 1:50:52 PM PDT by sitetest ( If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: sitetest

Most Gracious Apologies. I hereby retract all I said, please, if necessary, have the moderator remove them.


24 posted on 09/02/2010 2:05:42 PM PDT by RoadGumby (For God so loved the world)
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To: markomalley

Christ left us with a wonderful message to share with others.

We have seen how Christianity has grown. A great amount of diversity within the Church. While I truly believe that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, we need to continue to follow Christ with our love for him and our neighbor.

We need to continue to make the Church and ourselves holy by sharing this message from God - both by word and deed.

We can be happy and fulfilled in Christ as we grow in understanding and wisdom. We need to chose to be with Christ and follow him and share His Love with others.

It can be hard to open the eyes of others and they will need to desire to be open to Christ. We need to stand firm on the principles taught by Christ and be willing to speak out and to make sacrifices to follow them.

If we truly want to be with Christ, others will see that and want to follow Christ also.


25 posted on 09/02/2010 4:49:04 PM PDT by ADSUM (Democracy works when citizens get involved and keep government honest.)
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To: markomalley
Dear markomalley,

I read this earlier today and have been thinking about it since.

It's a tough one.

My own reaction is similar to those posters who talk about evangelizing through our actions. I do believe that actions often speak louder than words. But I also believe that sometimes, our actions may provoke questions, and we need to be ready to answer those questions, to the best of our ability, and even more importantly, in a position of openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The other thing to remember is that the people we need to evangelize are generally those closest to us. For those of us who are married with children, transmitting the faith to the best of our ability to them is our very most important evangelistic task. Also, many of us know many Catholics - whether friends or relatives, co-workers, etc. - who are, at best, nominal or occasional Catholics. By our example and our gentle words, perhaps we can evangelize these, too, to bring them to fuller participation and deeper faith.


sitetest

26 posted on 09/02/2010 7:26:36 PM PDT by sitetest ( If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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