Spreading the Good News: A Mission Worth Striving/Investing For
Thousands of years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ has trained and commanded His disciples to spread the Good News and proclaim the Kingdom of God not only in the comfort of their homes but far and wide. Said command of sharing the Good News that Jesus set out for all His followers is still applicable and relevant these days. As explicitly stated in the Holy Scriptures which is the foundation of our faith, Jesus Christ continues to direct us to go out and spread the Word of God. Our parish priests and pastors are spearheading this mission in their respective church communities throughout the world, either locally or abroad. However, the task of evangelization is not exclusively for priests, pastors, and those in religious vocations but for the laity (ordinary people) as well. As followers of Christ, we are bound duty to evangelize and to share the Good News, and to spread His teachings wherever we are until everyone becomes good followers of Christ. Thus, we must do our part and be able to accomplish Jesus Christ’s mission on earth: for mankind to know, to love, to serve God, to be good followers, and in the end to be with Him in His Kingdom in heaven.
Some of the Gospel Readings for this month remind us of our duty as Christians to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to spread the Good News, one of which indicates: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest, to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves”. During Jesus’ times, numerous people longed and wanted to hear about God, His Good News and Salvation. How about these days? All the more, right? God’s teachings are relevant particularly during these trying times when the world is encountering not only this corona virus pandemic, but also other challenges involving social and ethical issues where people’s beliefs and choices differ from each other depending on their preferences, thus creating conflicts within the society.
Surprisingly, what our Lord Jesus required from us in order to spread the Good News is merely to foster peace and love to every person we meet in our lives, even if most of the times we are “canceled” and ignored. As Jesus said this mission is definitely not easy, rejection is certain. If Jesus was cancelled by many people during His time, how much more for us who are merely ordinary people/sinners and struggling to spread His Word? But, this task is worth striving for! It is more prudent to invest our time, talent and treasure in this undertaking as doing so would be pleasing to God’s eyes. As long as the desire to help in spreading the Good News is embodied in our hearts and with fervor and sincerity, the peace that our Lord Jesus Christ has endowed to whoever positively respond to His call will always remain, and ultimately the same can be shared to others. And that is the beauty behind this mission.
The person behind My Useful Tips was given the opportunity to spread God’s teachings to middle-school kids whose parents were eager to send their children undergo religious education because they’re so engrossed with their work and had no time left to “school” their children, so to speak. As a matter of fact, even if the kids would like to go to Church on Sundays, they couldn’t do the same as some of the parents could not afford to attend to their needs as they were still busy working and earning money for their children’s welfare, putting food on the table and the like. Definitely, spreading the Word of God does not guarantee smooth sailing. One has to be patient, humble and cheerful in imparting knowledge about God particularly kids in middle schools, in their junior teens, and whose interests are far from the subject matter. However, her enthusiasm and the zeal to impart said knowledge paid off at the end of the day. What was worth noting was that the children, whenever they see each other, would introduce their parents to her, and the amazing reaction and appreciation from the parents provided her joy and gratification. On the other hand, teaching these kids about the faith in God likewise gave the kids the chance to echo what they have learned in school to their parents.
There are other ways on how to live God’s love and peace, and on how to share the same to others. In our homes, parents for instance should build the faith of their children and instill good values from an early age by steering them along the path of knowing and loving God. In the neighborhood or in the community where we live, helping people who are in dire need and showing them some care, support or just even a simple smile will give them some hope and inspiration. In workplaces and in our relationship with office colleagues, especially those who have yet to establish a friendly relationship with God, we have to reach out to them and invite them to attend Church gatherings such as meditations, reflections, retreats, that delve at least the basic catechism, and engage in a mutual counsel to learn from people on how they have practically lead their lives of faith. Evangelizing is essentially bringing God’s word into people’s lives and attempting to convert them through the power of God’s word itself. In so doing, by acknowledging and helping those in need is effectively sharing God’s love and giving peace in their hearts. As St.Teresa of Calcutta once said, everyone can proclaim the joy of spreading peace and the joy of loving one another.
The Holy Father has repeatedly been reminding and challenging us about our duties, as followers of Christ, that is, to promote love and peace through evangelization. While spreading love and peace can be achieved by sharing them to others and setting as examples through our words and actions, the Church is facing struggles to send people in places far and wide who are willing to sacrifice from being away from their respective homes so as to speak about Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. However, we don’t necessarily have to leave our homes and go abroad to spread the Good News. In the Philippines alone, there are about 85 million (out of 100+ million) Filipino Catholics but not all of them are churchgoers. Only about 13 million go to Church while the remaining 72 million are labeled as “Unchurched” Catholics (The data is based on a slide show presentation of the officiating priest in a Holy Mass held two years ago, as part of a homily on the subject). If only these “Unchurched Catholics”, including some of the so-called millennials who have seemingly drifted away from the Church and likewise those in the grassroots community who have not had the chance to receive at least the basics of Catholic Christian doctrine are transformed and are drawn to these faith communities, the Church would be able to achieve its goals of evangelization, having a Christian community that maintains a culture of love and discipleship and a community that shares wealth and responsibilities with the view of transforming and changing its people and the country in the long run.
Additionally, there are billions of people who are in pain (emotional, physical and spiritual) at the moment from lack of everything, including the lack of kindness, love and respect. We live in a beautiful world yet suffering and troubled. These days, we get a flick of world’s current affairs either from the pages of dailies, magazines and in social media where fake news, hatred and anger abound. Most people yearns for peace. But how can we be of help to them? How can we then be agents of peace and Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the world and find unity and peace for others in the midst of an increasingly polarized society?
To help us achieve our quest to help others so as to have true love and peace is to put ourselves first in the presence of God. We have to pray often because prayer is the answer to having peace and love. When we start loving ourselves, we start honing our own inner peace. The act of praying allows us to think purely; it gives us strength and it fills our hearts with good and happy things. When Jesus is with us, He will put away the restlessness of our hearts.
We are still in the month of September, the birth month of our Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Holy Rosary is a beautiful and grace-filled prayer, and serves as a powerful weapon to achieving love and peace. If we pray the Rosary and meditate on its sacred mysteries, in our homes with the family or wherever we are, it will not only foster love and peace to our lives but the entire world as well. And if we pray the Rosary wholeheartedly and sincerely, it will lighten up our spirits and strengthen our faith in God. One of the promises of Our Lady of Fatima is that if we pray the Rosary everyday, there will be conversion of sinners/souls and peace among warring countries.
Let us pray to our Blessed Mother to intercede for us that our dear Lord God will: a) guide us in sharing the Good News to others with peace and love; b) grant us a pure and selfless heart that does not entertain bitterness, resentment, and hardship that will weaken our commitment of spreading the Good News; and c) grant us the grace to continue helping and never fall away from this mission of evangelization, even if we feel like we aren’t getting enough support. May our Lady, the Mother of Our Lord, lead us in our desire to respond to God’s command to effectively and properly communicate the joy of faith in line with His teachings. Amen