Evangelizing: Becoming Prophets in Our Own Home

This is a pretty scary thought. Me, a prophet? You, a prophet? Too quickly, we tell ourselves and we speak of ourselves in words such as: “I’m not really that religious. I don’t know enough, how could I be prophet?” For some reason, being “religious”, being “holy”, even being a good Catholic Christian seems to take us into another form of life. It does not seem to allow for being “ordinary”.

Jesus ran into this attitude and view of himself as he came to his own hometown. His relatives and friends could not see him as a prophet. He was too well-known, even too much like them. It seems he was too “ordinary” for them. As the Gospel writer Mark tells it people were upset that he taught among them like a prophet. They recognized him as one of them, so how could he be a prophet: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3)

A Prophet is really someone who speaks God’s word, God’s plan in the time and world in which the prophet lives. That is also the role of the evangelizer – to share Gospel in the time and world in which we live. To effectively share the Good News in the world, it is important for us to grow in our own awareness of the Christian message and how it impacts us personally. That is, as we evangelize, we ourselves need to be constantly evangelized.

Faith is a maturing experience. The faith we had has children is not what we need as adults. Thus as missionary disciples of Jesus we have a life-long call to learn more about the message and mission of Jesus, so that we can share effectively. In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis recognized this need we have to be formed in our faith continuously (especially as adult). He commented: “All of us are called to mature in our work as evangelizers. We want to have better training, a deepening of love and a clearer witness to the Gospel. In this sense, we ought to let other be constantly evangelizing us. But that does not mean that we should postpone the evangelizing mission, each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are.” (121)

The aim, the hope in revitalizing our parishes is to build communities of all ages, marked by active faith that expresses God’s unconditional love and compassion for all. Such communities will form and nurture missionary disciples ready to be the “face of Jesus” in all the ordinary experiences of life.