Evangelisation is first and foremost about an encounter with Jesus Christ. For those who do not yet know him the first encounter may be one of hesitation, surprise and wonder. For those who already know him the renewed encounter with Jesus at Easter can be one that has the same emotions: surprise at how even now we come to know Jesus more than before, even though the story of Easter has been with all our lives; wonder at the Resurrection and how it continues to fill the world with God’s mercy; and hesitation that in a world where God’s mercy is not known or rejected, what is now expected of us as disciples of the risen Christ?
As the season turns and Spring brings new life to nature, so we should not be surprised that our lives, being part of nature, are constantly being renewed; and that our spiritual lives too are constantly growing each year through a renewed encounter with the risen Christ; and as nature and indeed the world is constantly changing so too is our mission to bring others to know Christ; indeed to reach out in new ways to and bring the love of Jesus and the mercy of the Father to people who do not know him, and to those who may know him, but have not ‘encountered’ him as Mary Magdalene encountered him on Easter morning; or those who encountered him on the road to Emmaus. They described how ‘our hearts burnt within us’ as they came to know Jesus anew.
Pope St John Paul II tells us that we in an age of ‘New Evangelisation’; that with ‘new ardour, new methods and new expression’ we are to take the message into world that is ever changing, where people’s expectations change from generation to generation. Our message, our ‘new evangelisation’, continues to tell of that unchanging story of the Resurrection.
With new heart, new spirit and new actions, we move forward towards the Ascension when Christ, having completed the mission given to him by his Father, hands over his mission to his disciples – and that is our mission too; and then to Pentecost, when that wonder, that surprise, that hesitation of the renewed encounter with Jesus risen from the dead, is transformed by the Holy Spirit into new lives of power that step into the world.
Let us join in the Apostles’ prayer calling on the Holy Spirit to fill us once more. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a world
Deacon Adrian Cullen