Anil Israel offers a fresh perspective on cooperating in the Great Commission that Christ gave us – to preach the Good News.

A common picture that pops up in people’s mind when they hear the word ‘Evangelization’ is usually that of a person holding up the Bible high and proclaiming at the top of his voice the ‘Good News of our salvation’ – somewhat equivalent to what Jonah was called to do for the people of Nineveh.

Over the years, I have also learnt of what our patron St. Francis of Assisi often said, “Preach the Gospel at all time and when necessary use words.” So, word-of-mouth is not the only way the Good News ought to be proclaimed. This might give solace to many of us who might feel disheartened at not being able to contribute to the mission of spreading the Gospel, either due to our reluctance or because of the lack of confidence in uttering the truth of the Gospel when a situation demands. Of course, we who were privileged to encounter the risen Christ, must stand for ‘Truth’ and not be a silent spectator whenever the Spirit prompts us to be an active instrument for His Kingdom.

Why is it necessary to participate in this Holy Mission? Every baptised person inherits the right to be a child of God and a duty to co-operate in the ‘Great commission’ – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Moreover, the ‘church exists in order to evangelize’ (Evangelli Nuntiandi, 14). And being members of the Church – the Mystical body of Christ, each one of us has a unique role to play. If one of the organs of the body chooses to refrain from doing its part in the functioning of the body, the body would not be at ease – it would show symptoms of disease. Likewise, we too ought to respond to our call to be an active and living member of the Church and contribute to the mission of the Church in our own unique way. The Jesus Youth movement – a missionary movement at the service of the Church – helps us adequately in exercising this response.

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