4 Sep 2019
From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy to the saints in Colossae, our faithful brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
We have never failed to remember you in our prayers and to give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show towards all the saints because of the hope which is stored up for you in heaven. It is only recently that you heard of this, when it was announced in the message of the truth. The Good News which has reached you is spreading all over the world and producing the same results as it has among you ever since the day when you heard about God’s grace and understood what this really is. Epaphras, who taught you, is one of our closest fellow workers and a faithful deputy for us as Christ’s servant, and it was he who told us all about your love in the Spirit.
Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever and it left her. And she immediately got up and began to wait on them.
At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them. Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.
When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for him, and when they had caught up with him they wanted to prevent him leaving them, but he answered, ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.’ And he continued his preaching in the synagogues of Judaea.
I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do
How would you feel if you were sent by God to evangelize to people of other faiths? Will you be afraid? Excited?
I have friends from all different religions and backgrounds. Once, I was having a conversation with my Protestant friend and we touched on the discussion between Catholics and Christians. My friend told me all about the things that he knew about Roman Catholics after having attended a church event but told me that there were fundamental differences between his religion and mine. While I was aware that he made some misconceptions, especially that we worship our Blessed Virgin Mary (we actually do not worship her, but ask her to intercede for us), I did not say anything because I was afraid of offending him of his religious views.
According to an article “11 Reasons Why Catholics Don’t Evangelise” in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore website (https://www.catholic.sg/11-reasons-why-catholics-dont-evangelise-part-1-of-2/ for Part 1, and https://www.catholic.sg/11-reasons-why-catholics-dont-evangelise-part-2-of-2/ for Part 2), one reason why Catholics do not evangelize is because we are afraid of offending others, or making others defensive.
However, this may stem from our misunderstanding of what evangelization is all about. It is not simply imposing Biblical phrases and our Roman Catholic principles and views on other people. It is not merely a debate on the heresies and fundamental differences between our faith and faiths of other religions. Rather, it is on how we spread Christ’s love to other people, allowing others to see God through us when we manifest His selfless and abundant grace, mercy and love through our actions and conduct.
Being an IJ girl for ten years in primary and secondary school, the IJ motto “Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty” gave me an idea of what we should do to bring Christ to other people. While we go to God in full confidence and love, we should also be aware of our duty to serve others, and not to be served.
Simple charitable acts of kindness and love, like alighting for a person in need or looking out for a disabled person, can make the day brighter for another person. Even when we help our family members with the household chores, we allow ourselves to show others who Christ is, that Christ is indeed present among us. Even if people do not reciprocate our kindness or are ungrateful towards us, we are still evangelizing for God’s glory, for we are ultimately serving God.
Therefore, we should be bold, muster our courage and be steadfast to God when we evangelize to our family, friends and even strangers, through words, actions and conduct. For God said, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)
(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, give us a steadfast heart to bring You to others when we show Your love, kindness and mercy to others. Help us to be bold and courageous when we are afraid to evangelize. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to proclaim the Good News, and bring You to others today.