One of the great buzz words in the Church right now is “New Evangelization” – everyone is talking about it. The Pope wrote a letter about it. The Canadian Bishops just wrote a letter about it. If you are Catholic and you aren’t in with the “new evangelization” then you’re simply behind the times.
What is the new evangelization? Many people are trying different things and calling it a new evangelization. Fancy Website or even apps you can download to your phone. Some parishes are offering Bible or Catechism studies and calling this the “new evangelization” Others argue we must offer retreats with Dynamic Speakers who will make us laugh and cry and transform our lives. For others the only thing that matters is our example, how we live our lives.
What is the new evangelization? Perhaps we can learn from the first evangelization. The very first evangelist was Mary Magdalene, who brought to the apostles the news of the resurrection. What does she do? She says five simple words “I have seen the Lord” “I have seen the Lord”
The good news of our Faith is that Jesus is risen! Jesus is alive! How do we know he’s alive? We have seen him – we have experienced him in our lives. Jesus has enlightened our path, he has answered our prayers, he has been by our side in our struggles, he has forgiven our sins.
“I have seen the Lord” To evangelize is to let people know that Jesus is alive by sharing our experience of how we have seen him.
This means everyone can evangelize – you don’t need to be a internet wizard to evangelize, you don’t need to know a lot about bible or the catechism, you don’t need to be a dynamic speaker or tell lots of jokes or know a lot about pop culture. You don’t even need to live an exemplary life – you can be a great sinner and still evangelize – you can still speak of how you have seen the Lord. Sometimes it is the greatest sinners who are the best evangelizers because they have experiences the mercy and patience and kindness of the Lord!
“I have seen the Lord” This is the good news. We can say it in many ways – we can speak about our experience in a Youtube video, or a catchy song or an essay with many big words – but the message is the same “I have seen the Lord.” Because we have met the Lord, we want to learn more about him, we want to deepen our relationship with him – we will always keep growing – but in the meantime we can still say “I have seen the Lord” We want to purify our hearts and actions so that our sins are not a distraction to others or an obstacle to knowing Jesus – but we don’t need to be a saint before we evangelize. We can start right now:. “I have seen the Lord – I have experienced his mercy, his patience, his goodness.
“I have seen the Lord” This is our Easter Message. This is the good news. This is the source of our Joy this day.