Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
Let us meditate on some events that occurred during the 2nd missionary
journey of St Paul and his companions. This
journey is very important because it marks the beginning of the
Evangelization of Europe. For the first time, Paul and his companions
from Asia move into Europe.
"From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace,
and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi,
a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia.
And we stayed there several days.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where
we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to
speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening
was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city
of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart
to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household
were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a
believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And
she persuaded us." (Acts 16:11-15)
Lydia has a chance of listening to the proclamationof the Gospel
done by Paul and his companions. But Paul and his companions do
not convert Lydia. "The Lord opened her heart to respond to
Paul's message". The Evangelizer proclaims the Gospel. It is
God who moves the heart of the listener. Conversion is a grace from
God. All those who do Evangelization work know this truth very well.
Lydia's conversion is so deep, that she and her family become Evangelizers
themselves. Their house becomes a centre of Evangelization. They
take up this mission and continue it even after Paul and his companions
leave Philippi for new places.
The Acts of the Apostles records how after a few days, Paul and
his companions were put in jail in Philippi, " and when they
came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met
with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left."(Acts
All those who are willing to walk along the road of Evangelization,
will see many miracles, and find out many people, who like Lydia
and her family are ready to share this fascinating work.
to me if I do not preach the gospel!
All those who do Evangelization work should have the same feelings
as St Paul had:
"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for
the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."(Romans,14:8)
Evangelization is our living. St Paul says that Evangelization is
not a choice.
"Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled
to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians,9:16)
Evangelization is also the highest for of worship.
"The grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to
the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of
God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to
God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." (Romans, 15:16)
For St Paul Evangelization is a Liturgy, in which, what is consecrated
by the Holy Spirit, is not bread and wine, but the Gentiles (those
who do not know Jesus yet). Their conversion to God is the offering
acceptable to God.
Every Christian is called to offer a living sacrifice to God.
"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual
house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable
to God through Jesus Christ."(1Peter, 2:5)
the sower and the reaper are glad together.
It must have been harvest time when Jesus told his disciples: "I
tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for
harvest." (John, 4:35)
Jesus was still near that well where he had met the Samaritan woman
who would become, together with many other Samaritans, a good harvest
No disciple would have ever imagined that that place, Samaria, was
a field to harvest.
Jesus tells his disciples that very often, in the work of Evangelization,
"one sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap what you have
not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped
the benefit of their labor." (John,4: 37)
To know that in the work of Evangelization, at times we are the
harvesters, and at other times we are the sowers, is a very good
antidote against both pride and discouragement. Sometimes we harvest
what other Evangelizers sowed.
Sometimes other Evangelizers will reap what we sow today. And "both
the sower and the reaper are glad together." (John, 4:36)
"The LORD said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and
your father's household and go to the land I will show you'."
It's amazing to think that this touching dialogue between God and
Abraham took place almost 4000 years ago. It has remained the model
of each call to Evangelization.
The first thing the Evangelizer is asked to do, is to leave his/her
country, his/her culture, his/her ways of thinking, and he is sent
to a new land, not a land of his/her choice, but "the land
I will show you." The Evangelizer is ready to go anywhere.
This gives him a freedom of action and a readiness to cope with
all sorts of difficulties that are bound to make his journey not
an easy one.
Leaving one's country and culture does not mean giving up one's
own roots, but broadening up the horizon and seeing things in the
light of the Universal. The Evangelizer remains linked to his cultural
roots, but in a new and deeper way.
"I will bless you, and you will be a blessing." (Genesis,12:2)
The Evangelizer carries in his person and message the blessing of
God. He will become a blessing himself for all those who encounter
The friends of Jesus' Passover carry this beautiful name "Passover":
it means "Passage" from one place or situation to a new
one. Abraham leaving his country experienced his Passover. Each
Passover carries a new and more abundant Life, but only after passing
through a "dying": dying to the old way of living.
Dear members of the Family movement. As you know from our website
(eoc.dolf.org.hk), our group "the Friends of Jesus' Passover"
will start the 4th missionary journey on the 28th of Nov. 02 and
come back on the 15th of Dec. We will go to Singapore, Brisbane,
Papua New Guinea, Brunei.
The theme of the missionary journey is "the Joy of living",
a theme very much related to the family, the cradle of life.
I like to write a few words to all the families of the movement,
to encourage them to follow our journey and pray for us, and become
Evangelizing families. I like to quote two verses from the Acts
of the Apostles.
"They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad
and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the
people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were
being saved." Acts,2:46-47)
Who are these people whose joy and courage make all the people around,
look at them with wonder and a desire to join them? They are the
first Christians in Jerusalem.
They have listened and accepted the apostles' Evangelization, and
have been baptized. Now their new style of living makes them Evangelizers.
Their homes are full of joy and sincerity, their meals are a moment
of intense unity, their communal prayer a moment of deep communion.
Their homes become the first Evangelization Centres, their families
the first Evangelizing Communities.
Maybe they are not experts of Catechism or Bible, but their joy
of living, their peacefulness, their concern for one another draws
the attention of the people who daily join their Community.
It is true indeed that what the contemporary world needs today,
is not so many smart preachers, but a few good witnesses.
Sends Out Seventy-two disciples
"The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by
two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go."
Besides the twelve apostles, Jesus sends out "others".
Most probably Luke, with the number seventy- two, wants to symbolize
the traditional number of Gentile nations. In that case, Luke wants
to tell us that Jesus sends the whole Church (both the twelve apostles
and the seventy two disciples) to the whole world (the seventy two
nations which traditionally symbolize the whole world).
Jesus sends them "two by two": Evangelization is not an
individual work. It is the mission of a Community of believers.
Jesus sends his Church ahead of Him to every place where He was
about to go.
The purpose of Evangelization is the coming of Jesus.
Evangelizers are Jesus' forerunners. When He comes, the Evangelizer
is no longer needed there. Jesus will make those who believe in
Him new Evangelizers
.The Evangelizer will be sent to new places where Jesus has not
harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
"He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers
are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers
into his harvest field." (Luke,10:2)
Since there are so few workers, why don't we recruit more workers
and assign them to the harvest?
Jesus tells us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers. It
is He who sends, and it is He who makes the disciple see where the
plentiful harvest is.
am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
"Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take
a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road."
(Luke, 10: 3-4)
The message of the Kingdom of God, is the evangelizer's true strength.
The disciple sent by Jesus to announce His Gospel, has no other
source of power besides the Gospel itself. In this sense, the disciple
is like a lamb.
But Jesus' disciple has a great trust in the "Sender".
The urgency of the announcement is so imperative, that there is
no need to take along any money, or a traveler's bag, or even an
extra pair of sandals. And there is no need stop to greet anyone
on the road.
you enter a home, give it your blessing.
"Whenever you enter a home, give it your blessing. If those
who live there are worthy, the blessing will stand; if they are
not, the blessing will return to you. When you enter a town, don't
move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking
what they provide you. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because
those who work deserve their pay." (Luke, 10: 5-7)
Where are we going to stay? What are we going to eat? How much will
Is it safe? What kind of clothes or shoes will I need? Could we
move to a better place?
These and many other questions are very common and very legitimate
Compare them with Jesus' instructions to his disciples!
be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.
"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before
you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of
God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed,
go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks
to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom
of God is near.'" Luke, 10: 8-11)
When the evangelizers are warmly welcomed in a place they are sent
to, they feel good and are happy to have been sent there. But when
things are not so smooth, or just no one welcomes them, they feel
down hearted, at times even angry.
All these feelings are very reasonable.
Jesus instructs his disciples to remain free: if you are not welcomed
in one place, remember that I sent you to go all over the world
joy of Evangelization
"When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported
to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"
"Then Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and
said, "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding
the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and
for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to
do it this way." (Luke, 10: 21)
The evangelizers joyfully report to the sending Community and the
Community joyfully gives thanks to God. All share the same deep
joy. This joy is of the Holy Spirit, a fruit of the Holy Spirit