“Go Make Disciples of All Nations”, By Sherinrose Alex, Fiat Ventures

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Flickr User Zsolt Palatinus

Ascension of the Lord

Often times, when we think about “evangelization” or “making disciples of all nations” we picture missionaries going out to different countries and lands, spreading the Gospel to those that may not have ever heard it. Others think of Mother Teresa who evangelized the poor in the slums and streets of Calcutta, India. Are those the only examples evangelization? What was Jesus telling the disciples (and all of us) before his Ascension into heaven and what does it have to do with us today?

Evangelization is the responsibility of every Baptized person – one that sometimes we may not realize is uniquely part of our own call. Pope Francis tells us “Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.” So yes, some may be called to physically preach the Gospel and go to various countries spreading the Good News, but all of us are called to actively share the message of God’s saving love right where we are – in our families, workplaces, and communities.

When I was in high school, there was an adult leader I met while I was on a retreat. He didn’t give any of the talks during the weekend, he wasn’t in charge of music, nor did he lead any discussions or games. He was purely just attending as a chaperone, but he is someone I will never forget. You might be wondering why this somewhat “ordinary” man is someone who comes to mind even though over a decade has passed since this retreat. The thing about him that stood out was nothing other than his smile. Not only did his smile not leave his face for the three days we were away at retreat, but there was just something different about it. His huge smile lit up the entire room and everyone who attended noticed it too. By the end of the retreat, one of us finally had the courage to ask him why he was smiling so much. He simply replied saying, “When you experience the depth of God’s love for you, you can’t help but smile!”

How are you called to evangelize today? Is it by sharing with a friend a difficult time when you felt that God was close to? Is it by being patient at home when everything seems chaotic? Is it by your smile that radiates the love of God to a stranger? We are all called to evangelize in different ways and to different people, but the beauty of this calling is that it is unique to each of us. We have all been gifted with something beautiful that can be shared with those around us. The Good News that Jesus taught and showed by dying for us is not meant for just Sunday Mass-going Catholics…it is meant to be known by all of humanity. As he has now ascended into heaven, we are called to be his hands and feet to those who are in our lives. Although this may “stretch” you out of your comfort zone, doing small things with great love will start to change the world!  

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