Happy Easter! It’s kind of amazing how we can go from the saddest, most sorrowful moments of the entire liturgical year (Good Friday) to the most important, most joyful time of the entire liturgical year (Easter Sunday) in just a little more than 24 hours. Jesus Christ, the only son of God, died a painful, gruesome earthly death only to rise again in glory on the third day — just sit and take that in for a few moments.
It’s so easy to move through the motions of being Catholic. For many Catholics, myself included, being a part of the Church wasn’t a choice. Baptized by my parents when I was eight weeks old, I’ve pretty much been a Catholic my entire life. Going to church weekly, talking and knowing about God, and grace at the dinner table have always just been things that were part of life. While this comfort and familiarity in faith is a wonderful life experience, it also means that I can get really lazy about my faith and am not as active or engaged in it as I could be.
Like lots of Catholics, one of my biggest stumbling blocks in faith has always been a hesitancy to evangelize. It almost sounds like a dirty word. Evangelization just isn’t something that we do. Other Christians evangelize. We don’t. When surveyed, there are a few reasons that Catholics often say they don’t: “I don’t know enough to evangelize”; “I don’t want to push my beliefs on others”; “It’s not my job to evangelize.”
But we are called to evangelize; we just don’t partake because it makes us uncomfortable or embarrassed. There’s a big misconception about evangelization, though, that feeds into these feelings in a very direct way. At its core, evangelization is about bringing people into the love, light, and life of the narrative of Jesus Christ — the very thing we are celebrating today.
“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die,” Jesus says to Martha, sister of Lazarus, in the gospel a few weeks ago (John 11:25-26). This is our faith. This is the faith that we are called to evangelize. Evangelization is not the “forcing” of Catholic beliefs onto everyone we meet. It is not going door-to-door asking people to share in the faith, or telling them that they will go to hell if they do not convert, like those on soapboxes downtown say.
Evangelization is living fully the spirit of Christ into everything that we do and everything that we are. It is not forgetting that we are always in the process of faith formation; it is remembering that we are always on a journey in our relationship with Christ. It is preaching the Good News of Christ in our thoughts, actions, and interactions with others. This Easter season, let us lean into the spirit of evangelization. Let us not be crippled by overthinking or doubting. Let us share Christ universally.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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