Meditation on the Message of Evangelisation
(Text of a conference given to the Soeurs Thérésiennes of Basankusu on 2 February, World Day f or Consecrated Life)
“Go therefore to the men of all nations and make them my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you ”(Matt. 28: 19-20).
– Currently there is a tide of anti-values which weakens the relationships between people in the Communities: abuse of power, egocentrism, exploitation of the weak, ‘Bank Lambert’, slander, corruption, disobedience, domination, frustrations, manipulation, lack of appreciation of others , humiliations, quarrels, individualism, miseries, isolation, nepotism, tribalism, obstinacy, pride, revenge, indiscipline, injustice, mistrust, mediocrity, idleness, poverty, lukewarm and superficial life, intolerance and denigration, indiscretion, immaturity, ingratitude, grudges, etc. This tide of anti-values is absolutely incompatible with the Christian faith.
– Today we see that there is a proliferation and emergence of revival churches. Some faithful Catholics are leaving their Base Communities. The reasons are multiple as we can imagine. Sometimes the movements of the faithful from one Church to another can be seen as the action of the Holy Spirit. God only knows, and history will tell! We wish everyone a happy journey wherever it takes them..
Finally, the Church, the Family of God, a community with a universal vocation, must become an additional Family on earth. This confirms the Bantu concept which says, “Bola Nk’ato” (Longando), “Ese Nk’aanto” (Lomongo), “Ngando Batu” (Lingombe). So this belief invites us to continual conversion and motivation for the growth of our Church. This is why the daughters and sons of the Church family all have the obligation and the joy to live the Christian faith intensely, to manifest a gospel spirit in service, and to grow to the fullness of Christ. .
PROMOTE OUR REASON OF BEING
-By Baptism and teaching (education in the faith) we have become members of the Church, the family of God. God wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Tim. 2: 4). So evangelization allows the Church to pursue her mission of bringing humanity to its conformity in Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14: 6). The Church testifies of the presence of Jesus in this world. Let us remember the words of Paul VI: the Church exists to evangelize. And the goal of evangelization is to transform the personal conscience of man (the human being) and the social environment he finds there (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n.18).
-To better accomplish our task we must go to Jesus’ school. Together we must make our own the pastoral orientations of the local Ordinary. Each of us must be properly evangelized, so that the word of Jesus can be inscribed in our hearts. Moreover, we have a duty to become models in the Communities, and to be recognized by the quality of our welcome, availability, gentleness, maturity, simplicity, etc. Let us underline that the relevance of our witness makes us feel that through us, Pastoral Agents and other people of faith, Jesus Christ is at work. As we remain faithful witnesses of the gospel the people next to us will taste the brotherhood, love and joy of living in Christ. It is this kind of witness which leads to the transformation of the social environment and, which attracts others to conversion (by the action of the Holy Spirit). Paul VI reminds us by saying: “Today the world listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, because the testimony challenges them” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 41). So it is in the Grassroots Communities where the witness of peaceful life touches the hearts of our brothers and sisters. It is necessary that we remain faithful witnesses of the true encounter with Jesus.
-Evangelisation us disciples of Jesus. For this purpose we need to make choices which must shake off vicious habits and mentalities contrary either to the Gospel or to the teaching of our Church. So each of us has the task of initiating the scrutiny of his personal life and identifying the vices which decry and compromise his presence in the pastoral field. Let us underline that arrogant and proud attitudes on a daily basis demotivate the members of the Base Communities. Therefore, training helps us to become humble, happy disciples and make disciples (Pope Francis).
-In addition, the grace of God helps us to proceed on a thoughtful journey to serve well for the advent of a better and fraternal world. This same grace, the source of salvation, is given to us to lead a reasonable life in this world, just and faithful to God (Titus 2: 11-(Titus 2: 11-12). In all circumstances we should be motivated by the example of Jesus who offered others the best of himself and the hospitality of his presence (Jn. 10:10; Mt.9: 33). In addition, Jesus offered his people a testimony consistent with his calling as the Son of God (Jn.4: 34). So we have the task of deepening our knowledge of Jesus by means of the Holy Scriptures, Contemplation, the Eucharist, and the celebration of the Saints … By celebrating the memory of the Saints, the Church lets us know an order of gospel values willed by God and which must be applied for the credibility of evangelization. The Saints reproduced in their existence the various aspects of the life of Jesus which was marked by the following standards, namely:
1. Decision: his will to do the work of God, to live as a man of God, and to do good and good in all humility (Phil. 2: 6-9).
2. Discipline: Knowing how to say no to oneself, to temptations and bad habits (Lc.4: 1-13). Learn to engage with an undivided heart.
3. Responsibility / Serenity: To deploy one’s intelligence, one’s time, one’s talents for the happiness of others and for the glory of God (Mc.7: 31-37). Very famous was his intention to maintain good conduct at every stage of his life (Heb. 4-15). As an ethical notion: respect for oneself and others. And the great secret of his life was the gift of himself, crowned by the sacrifice of the cross.
In any case, Jesus is our Model to follow because his story reveals his obedience to the will of the Father, his influence on human life, his acts and his words which provoked the admiration of his contemporaries (Mc.7: 36- 37). Therefore his journey teaches us to leave marks in the Base Communities (Acts 2: 44-47).
-Sure, the standards that characterized the life of Jesus can sufficiently help each of us to lead a life of light capable of overcoming or reducing the repetition of vices of all kinds. Note that the Spirit of the Lord is there to help everyone discern the will of God, see things clearly, and know what to do. Let us remember the words of Micah, “It has been made known to you, man, what God demands of you: To accomplish righteousness, to love goodness, and ultimately to walk humbly with your God. “
-Christian life should not simply become a museum of memories (Pope Francis). Which leads us to believe that Evangelization must make us faithful endowed with the appropriate dispositions; the faithful who have the will and thirst to carry the message as the Church teaches. Let’s be full of enthusiasm to evangelize more through the testimony of our own lives. Let us once again experience the joy of investing in the growth of our local Church (at all levels) by emulating the example of our best predecessors. Let us all make a commitment to use our availability, our charisms, our talents, our material, financial, moral and spiritual wealth for the well-being of our fellow men (Mt.7: 12). This is why we are called to become salt of the earth and light of the world for the glory of God (Mt 5: 13-16).
-The Church is the sacrament of the union of mankind with God and also of the union between the children of God. By its nature the Church is divine and human (Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, 21 Nov. 1964, para 8). Then the experience of sin is there. And no one can ignore that we carry the Christian faith in human frailty and that until the end. The entanglement of good and evil should not discourage us completely. This is why the Church invites her daughters and sons to follow the path of the beatitudes (Mt 5: 3-12). Let us pray more for the courage to break the habit of mediocrity, and to face the tide of vices that have become the state of life today. Conversion of hearts is always possible. To achieve this we must enrich our inner clairvoyance and simultaneously arm ourselves with exceptional prudence (Pope Francis) to safeguard our identity, our reputation and also that of our holy Church of which we are members. This will enable us to become wise and set ourselves in the pursuit of good. Let us remember that even if we are not in order (because of our weaknesses), the confession of the mistakes committed can become the occasion to obtain from God or from the Church grace and forgiveness as indicated in the parable of lost and found son (Luke 15: 18-24).
-Since evangelization gives us the privilege to share in the glory of God and to be like Christ (Rom. 8: 28-30), we must therefore: fulfill the law of charity (Lk 6:31) ; cultivate the spirit of sacrifice, grow with adult attitudes, know how to reconcile; have a presence that helps others thrive; be compassionate; discourage any attempt at tribal coterie and discrimination; resist material idolatry (because the thirst for wealth leads us to embezzlement and illicit practices like Bank Lambert, comfortable egoism …); resist over-attachment to personal ideas; and finally to avoid any kind of personality worship by contemplating with admiration the humble and obedient Jesus (Phil. 2: 6-9).
May evangelization lead us to one goal, which is to achieve in our life what Christ was, as an anonymous writer said: to have a child’s heart for God, for others a heart of mother, and for ourselves a judge’s heart!
Stanislaus Bondoko mhm