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Shirking Your Supreme Duty

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St. Peter was an apostle to the Jewish people.

St. Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles.

From the beginning, from the first breath of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the supreme duty has been to share Jesus Christ. To evangelize.

Not to create programs.

Not to practice hospitality in the traditional sense of the word.

Not even to teach, heal, or serve along the lines of generic service.

We were called to go into all nations and baptize. To call to repentance. To guide and lead everyone to the Truth of Jesus Christ.

Too many of us have lost our focus.

It is like we were hired for a job with a “supreme duty,” clearly written in the job description, and we have focused on everything BUT the supreme duty.

We write books and buy books that are only slightly better than self-help drivel. And they sell.

We listen to talks that emphasize any number of things yet omit the one thing that is our supreme duty.

We don’t evangelize.

St. Paul’s number one goal was not to meet up with those who were different and learn about their culture. He didn’t spend his time and fill pages with writings about how to welcome the stranger and celebrate their differences. He didn’t preach about giving money to social programs or even about demonstrating for a cause or becoming an activist for social change.

He talked about something far different. He wrote about something far better. He died for something exceedingly more important.

Encounter Christ Jesus. And be converted.

We are not a closed group. We are not a social experiment. We are not about making the world better now or even about becoming the best version of ourselves. (Even if all those things seem to fit nicely in the Christian ethos.)

It stings. Doesn’t it?

We are made for heaven, and we are called to go into the world and share the good news … for the purpose and ultimate goal of conversion.

Don’t expect to feel comfortable. You might expect to feel distinctly uncomfortable.

You might even think you are putting your life at risk.

Put down your self-help books, even the ones that seem Catholickie (I made that word up).

“No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty, to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” – Pope St. John Paul II

There is only one group of people who have a unique relationship with God and our evangelization to them will be different, something more like talking to our grandparents and great grandparents. There is only one group of people who pre-date us in the faith and their covenant pre-dates our own. The Jewish people.

But everyone else is rudderless.

Even so, Jesus Christ loves his own and came to them first. He awaits their Great Recognition with joy and anticipation. So share. Even here. But don’t approach your matriarchs and patriarchs in the faith with arrogance. Definitely don’t do that. Begin with your common ground. And there is so much. SO. MUCH.

There is still a gentile world that rejects the Gospel message. There are still many who are comfortable with your social projects… just keep your mouth and message to yourself…just don’t try to tell us about Old or New Testament. Keep your Sacramental life hidden from me.

St. Paul would not be silent. So why are we?

He would not settle for service programs. So why do we?

He would shake things up a lot with his words and with his pen. So why don’t we?

Evangelize.

It is your supreme duty.

 

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