As for evangelization as well (the other pillar which, together with praise, stands at the base of vocation and engagement in the Risen Jesus Community) we find the example of Mary, the first “evangelizer”, the one who, yet before speaking, bore in actual fact in herself the “Happy Announcement” (Evanghelion), the Word of God made flesh, the one who bore him to the world.
And we must think that over, asking to be really enlightened in our spirit if we want to understand and act…The present ones are hard times. We have to face not only millions and millions of men and women who, after two thousand years of Christianity, have never heard about Jesus (or in any case they have never heard of Jesus in a way which was significant to them), but also we have to face nations that could be declared Christian, Catholic countries in a recent past, while now they have quickly forgotten, abandoned and even fought Christ.
Though even in the best case scenario, when we find some faith, and that is a rare situation, which is really worry, it is a formal, occasional and habitual faith.
Nowadays we meet the paradoxical reality of crowds of “baptized people” who still need to be evangelized! Though they have often made a catechistic and sacramental course, they have never made a real, personal and decisive encounter with the Person of Jesus. Before serious decisions to be taken – as an individual or as a group – concerning the defence of life, an everlasting faithfulness to God, morals, a peace testimony, the option for the poor, there all Christians are dramatically awaited…
The man who has “known” Jesus, who has welcomed Him as the Lord of his life, does not need other “ways” (which he does not recognize as such either) or “loopholes”, since he loves and chooses what Jesus loves and commands.
Thus we are called to “make Jesus present” in the world so that everybody may meet Him as Mary did and Saint Paul too. He got to say: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20).
“Christ lives in me”! How much are we concerned by these words? How much are they true for each of us? Even though we have not reached Paul’s experience and awareness yet, the aim we have to get to is this: I am called to let Jesus live in me! To let Jesus speak with my mouth, watch with my eyes, walk with my legs…
We cannot limit ourselves to simply speak about Him any longer (or pass on a simple doctrine or a brilliant spiritual teaching). We are called to “communicate” Jesus with our whole life; more, to let Him free to “communicate Himself” through us, who are the members of His Mystic Body. And that will be in the same way as He communicates Himself by the consecrated Host.
Though we must believe in that. We must put all our faith into that. To do that, we shall live in a real, continuous and ardent intimacy with Him, being conquered by the mystery of His Person, until we are transfigured by that. We need to learn not only to contemplate Him and so to Know Him, but through this knowledge – which is a biblical one, the knowledge of bride and bridegroom who decide to belong the one to the other for ever – we are to accept to fully share His life and mission, including the weigh of the sorrows linked to this same mission. Like that only we shall be able to experience the power of His resurrection.
Christ is the “content”, the only content of our Gospel announcement: the Word incarnate, Jesus who died because of love, Jesus who rose, ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. There He goes on to intercede for us and to send His Holy Spirit, awaiting and preparing the final Resurrection of all the bodies and of the whole Creation.
If Christ lives in me, the content of the Gospel announcement and I the announcer become one thing. We can become one thing just because of that.
We can see this same match considering Saint Peter speaking to the crowd outside the Cenacle, on the Pentecost day: it is Christ Himself, being present in Peter’s heart by the power of His Holy Spirit, who “comes out” from Peter’s mouth, “cutting to the heart” the listening people.
It is not Peter’s eloquence to obtain this result. What he is saying (…This Jesus whom you crucified…)” might be taken for an indictment, thus provoking a very different answer. On the contrary people are wrapped, taken and touched inwards by the power of Resurrection, that is outpouring on them, coming from Christ, who is present in His Spirit.
And people meet Him! They do not meet only His Apostle’s words. They meet Him, who is real and alive, who is present in those words, in that look, in the hands of all the disciples, now laying over them so that they too may receive the gift of the Spirit, after repenting.
The kerigma, the simple and essential announcement of Christ, who was crucified and has risen, is now consecrating the world to God again. It is giving Him back what belongs to Him. At the same moment all those welcome Him come back into the peace and order He stated.
It is as if, for a very little while (but this short time is a bit of eternity…), all those present were on the Tabor as well , where Peter enjoyed the glory of God’s Son, or in the Cenacle, where the heart-beating Peter saw Him, already risen, coming in through closed doors. Now all that belongs to Christ and is also dwelling in Peter can pass on into them as well. Thus now they “have experience” of salvation, since they meet the Saviour, at the same time becoming aware of their own sin. So, after repenting, they get themselves baptized.
They “believe” in the Gospel and “are converted” to the Gospel.
- Alberta Avòli and Roberto Ricci – “They lived together”
Guidelines collection, No. 5 – The Risen Jesus Community Edition- pages 70-72