Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy offers a ‘Just Gospel’ blog post each month reflecting on Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention and includes any other specific focus of her religious community for the year. Find in this reflection the Pope’s May intention that church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelization each day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world.
This month, let us begin with the chosen phrase from Thomas Aquinas’ prayer—…and this bread contained all goodness… This phrase is easily grasped. The bread of the Eucharist can only contain all goodness since it is Jesus, the Bread of Life. The oft heard phrase, “You are what you eat.” Enters in here. If we desire to be what we eat in the Eucharist, then we desire to also be all goodness. This won’t miraculously happen as we receive the Bread of Heaven. But it can be the fruit of faithful prayer asking that we grow in goodness. Might this petition be a mantra for after communion? Lord, let me grow in the goodness that you are.
Of course, any goodness that our God authors in us is not for us. It is meant to be shared. Pope Francis reminds us of this reality in the intention which states: That church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelization each day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world.
What exactly is meant by evangelization? Evangelization is simply understood as sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others so that they make the decision to follow Him, become His disciple, and join His Church. So, we are to share the Gospel. However, we can’t share what we don’t have. Do we own the Gospel in a real and personal sense? This only happens through prayerfully developing a personal relationship with Jesus.
So, practically speaking, how do we go about evangelizing? The Reverent Catholic site offers us six strategies.
- Pray: It’s important to realize that bringing others to Christ is not about you. It is about fostering a relationship. In this regard, you are not the one who converts anyone.
- Ask Questions and Listen: This requires keeping your comments to yourself, asking questions, and doing a lot of listening. It requires you being a good friend to someone and the ability to not constantly correct people.
- The Great Invitation: After you build trust and a closer friendship with the person you care about, you should invite them to a Catholic event. The obvious one is Holy Mass.
- Live the Faith Joyfully: Joyful living as a follower of Jesus makes you the salt of the earth—one who makes mouths water for the truth and love that only Jesus gives. How do we develop this joy? Be grateful for everything because all is gift from a loving God. You are blessed!
- Share Your Personal Story of Faith: Answer the question “Why are you a Catholic?” That answer must have everything to do with the person of Jesus. Humans do not relate to ideas; we relate to people. We connect with people. Evangelization is about introducing others to the person of Jesus Christ whom you have a relationship with and who changed your life.
- Know the Faith: You cannot possibly know everything but be prepared for the typical questions that get asked to Catholics so you can field them or at least know where to look for the answers.
So, may the Ultimate Goodness given to us each day in the Eucharist be the very one we proclaim as only we can among the People of God!