Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Advent Year B

Evangelization: fourth sign of a Dynamic Catholic

Evangelization, sharing the good news, making disciples and best way to live, are the words that help to focus on the message of this Sunday. Last Sunday the homily highlighted the second and third signs of a dynamic Catholic: study and generosity. This Sunday the gospel in subtle ways underlines evangelization: the fourth sign of engaged Catholics. The Church exists precisely to transform people by proposing the best way to live as Jesus taught. It exists to evangelize. What exactly is evangelization? Evangelization is a process that leads people into a relationship with Jesus by sharing the good news Jesus taught on the best way to live. Matthew Kelly in Chapter Five of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic challenges us to be God’s instruments of helping people become the best version of themselves. We can do this by taking one step at a time to change our own lives first. Once we commit ourselves to a routine of daily prayer, study, being generous with our lives, our faith will be so fired up with energy and joy that we cannot contain but share with others. The fourth sign of a dynamic Catholic is evangelization. Our parish exists to make disciples who make other disciples. That implies leading others to discover the best way to live as taught by Jesus Christ.

What is the best way to live? The best way to live is founded on the Commandment of love of God and neighbor as Jesus teaches (cf. Mt. 22:37-39). Matthew Kelly proposes three compelling principles that guide human beings on the path to the best way to live. 1) You are created to be the best version of yourself. In the Sermon on the Mountain Jesus teaches his disciples saying, “So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48). Evangelization leads people on a path to the best version of themselves. 2) A virtuous life is better than a life of vice. Evangelization leads people to embrace a virtuous life rather than a life of vices. It is unthinkable to imagine a marriage, family, state or nation where vices reign supreme: pride, greed, envy, anger, lust and gluttony. 3) It is better to live with self-control (self-discipline) than to live without it. That is what Matthew Kelly means when he says, “Transforming people one at a time is at the very heart of God’s plan for the world.” As followers of Jesus we are called to transform people, culture and thinking. This is subversive and dangerous.

Let me sum up in a few points. 1) Evangelization is a process that leads people into a relationship with Jesus Christ by sharing the good news Jesus taught on the best way to live: a life of virtue and character; a life grounded on self-control and discipline. 2) Evangelization requires commitment to a routine of daily prayer, study and being generous with our lives. 3) Evangelization begins with our “yes’ by allowing Jesus to transform us into the best version of ourselves. 4) If you want to be an evangelizer, consider doing one thing each week to share your faith with someone who crosses your path. 5) Read the Bible, a good Catholic book or listen to a Catholic CD that inspires your faith daily and share it with other parishioners or people you meet. 6) Take the parish Newsletter to Catholics and friends who no longer come to church and invite them to join us for our Christmas Mass. Be bold; be Catholic; be a dynamic Catholic and the best version of yourself. I wish you all a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

©2014 John S. Mbinda

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