Evangelization Sunday

What is evangelization?
Evangelization sound like a very difficult word to read and pronounce, but its meaning is very easy to understand. The word evangelize simply means, to “preach the gospel” or to “convert”. In the present day context, it means to “share the good news of Jesus Christ”.

So what is the good news?
The good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ SUFFERED for ME, DIED for ME and ROSE from the dead for ME.

He paid the price (ransom) of my sins to the Father and washed away my sins with his precious blood.

With his rising from the dead, he has opened the gates of eternal life for all those who believe in him.

Why evangelize?
If I received a beautiful gift on my birthday, would I keep it for myself or would I display it for others to see? Surely I would want everyone to see my gift and admire it.

In the same way, when I come to experience what the Lord had done for me, I want to share this with others, that they too may receive this gift and they too may enjoy the gift of eternal life.

Only what I have is what I can share
The day I was baptized, God bestowed on me a priceless gift, namely the gift of sonship and to establish this, he made me the temple of the Holy Spirit. What more do I want?

That means, from the day of my baptism, God was no more anonymous, he became for me, Abba Father. Jesus became my brother and the Holy Spirit became my Paraclete, friend and counsellor. What more do I want?

If this new is not good news, then what is? If this news cannot make me happy, what will?

Therefore brothers and sister, the goodnews that I am now the beloved son or daughter of Abba Father is a news that I want to share with the peoples of my world; the news that Jesus has become my brother, is a news that I want to share with the peoples of my world; the news that the Holy Spirit is my teacher, my guide, my friend, my counsellor, is a news that I want to share with the peoples of my world.

I want to tell the peoples of this world, that it is not necessary to wash ourselves in rivers to wipe away our sins, Jesus has done that for us. I want to tell the peoples of this world, that I do not need to cross mountains to gain eternal life, it is here for the asking. I have only to believe with my heart andproclaim with my lips that Jesus is Lord and salvation is mine, available free.

I want to tell people, that Jesus has changed the way I look at life and live my life. Before I knew him, I used to get very angry, I was greedy and chased after material prosperity, I was selfish and did not want to share my goods with the poor, I hated others and refused to forgive, I thought that words like mercy and meekness were for the weak, .....

But now that I know Jesus and his infinite, unfathomable, unconditional love for me, I try and live my life with a greater sense of balance, share my goods with the poor, try and love people, even my enemies, make a sincere effort to forgive and reconcile and live with every human being as brothers and sisters to each other.

Jesus has made a difference in my life, and this is what I want to share with the peoples of my world.

Many people confuse evangelization with conversion
Evangelization is our work, namely to share the good news. Conversion is God’s work, namely to draw the person to himself. Often for various reasons, the Church is blamed for conversion. But one must remember that no one can be converted unless God gives the grace and draws the person to conversion.

Why are we celebrating Pentecost Sunday as Evangelization Sunday?
Pentecost is the great event that took place 2000 years ago, when the Father abundantly poured the Holy Spirit into the lives of the Apostles and through them to the disciples and the people of God. The result of the Pentecost is evangelization.

The apostles were so filled with the Holy Spirit and the power of God, that they could not keep silent. They had to go out and share the good news with the people. And the first thing that Peter and his companions did was to invite people to a life of repentance and to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

So Pentecost is the EVENT and the Pentecost takes place at our baptism. The RESULT of our receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism is evangelization!

This means, that every one who is baptized, has received the Holy Spirit and hence is an evangelist!!!

How can I evangelize?
Many people are under the impression that preaching is the only way to evangelize. But this is far from the truth. St Francis of Assisi used to tell his brothers, evangelize with your example when necessary use words! The way I live my Christian life, in my family, my office, my daily routine of life, is the best way to evangelize. What did the people say of the early Christians – see how they love one another. The other day I heard a man saying, it is only Christians who really care for the poor, especially the lepers. This is a great way of giving example. So can each one of us, take up the challenge of living our Christian life in an evangelizing way in our families, by loving, caring, sharing, forgiving, and the like.

Our parish is a great example of how so many of you are engaged in evangelizing works. Right from the Parish Team, who engage themselves in serving the people with the Word of God and S acraments, visiting the sick, caring for the poor and the like. Then we have the Parish Council and Finance Council, who helps out in the administration of the parish. This is also an evangelizing work Then we have different groups, like the St Vincent De Paul, Sneha Nilaya, Employment Bureau, Marriage Bureau which take care of the corporal works of mercy. The Food Stall, doing fund raising for the medical needs of the poor. Divine Spark, Jesus Youth, Secular Franciscan Order and Prayer Groups, sharing the Word of God, prayer, healing, deliverance. Kristanjali, sharing the faith with people. Catechism and Sunday School, giving faith formation to our children and youth. The Legion of Mary, who remind us of Mary, the model evangelizer. Asian Trading Corporation, making books and other Christian material available. Our choir groups, who help us to pray and make our liturgies lively. Then our altar boys and girls, Ushers, Sacristans, staff, Helpers, all reaching out in living the gospel in different ways and thereby becoming an evangelizer.

How can I evangelize in an effective manner?
I would like to share a few tips for all of us so that we can become effective evangelizers.

First, it is important for each one of us to realize that we are the beloved sons and daughters of Abba Father.

Remind yourself what our Lord Jesus has done for me, by his suffering, death and rising from the dead.

Become strong in matters of faith by reading the Word of God and regular life of prayer.

Share your faith courageously, first by example and then by words – in your family, office and daily life.

Get involved in actions of evangelization. In the parish there are no spectators, only participants. It is my hope that in celebrating this Evangelization Sunday, we will arrive at a greater realization that I must participate in the life of the Church, so that I can become a spirit filled person, living a spirit filled life! When we all do this, we will experience a new Pentecost and become spirit filled people, living spirit filled lives. And that will be the greatest evangelization that will happen