Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:15-17).
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day (John 6:44).
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15).
My two previous articles described what the Catholic Church teaches on evangelization and an approach to evangelization for Catholic men. In this article, I want to you try to imagine what our parishes, our Church, or the whole world would look like if each of us as Catholic men were to answer the call to evangelization, i.e., under the power of the Holy Spirit we would “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Imagine the awakening that would take place in your parish, and the ripple effect it would have on the Church and in the world. Imagine the healings, the miracles, and the conversions that could happen!
Is this possible? Yes it is, but not if we are ‘lukewarm” or “cold” to this call to evangelization. Do any of these words describe you? Jesus said he would “spit” the lukewarm out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16). This is a scary thought, and I hope I don’t come across as judgmental, but I think that many Catholic men today tend to fall into the “lukewarm” category when it comes to evangelization. There aren’t all that many militant atheists out there who are completely cold to the things of God. But neither are there a lot of people who are “on fire” for the Lord.
If we say no to lukewarmness and yes to his call, you and I can make a difference in the lives of the good Catholics who think highly of Jesus, but whose convictions about him may not be strong enough to make them want to dedicate their whole lives to him, and serve him and his church. There are also many Catholics who are trying hard, but just haven’t come to know Jesus for who he truly is – their Lord and Savior. Many are waiting to hear the good news.
God has placed you in circumstances where you can share about who Jesus is and what he has done for you. You have the Holy Spirit in you, empowering you to speak of God’s love with confidence. He will give you the courage and boldness you need. With one hand, take hold of God’s grace, and with the other, reach out in faith and confidence to tell others about Jesus’ love and forgiveness.
Let’s say yes to this call to evangelization right now and let’s beg God for an outpouring of grace. Here’s a possible starting point: Write down the names of three people you know whose faith is weak or have left the Church. Pray for them every day that their hearts would be open to receiving “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). Think about and pray about (perhaps write down) what you would say to them if the opportunity arises to share your faith, and “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).
So let’s all decide to be “hot” and not “lukewarm” as Catholic men. You’ll be amazed at what will happen!
“Lord Jesus, you said that no one can come to you unless your Father draws him. Heavenly Father, draw those we are praying for to your Son. Lord Jesus, we ask for the grace to always be ready to tell others of your great love. Holy Spirit, set our hearts on fire to spread the gospel to the others!”
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take a few minutes to read and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What are they saying to you?
- The article challenges us not to be “lukewarm” or “cold” when it comes to the answering the call to evangelization. What word best describes your response to this call?
- What are some of the obstacles you have that keep you from answering this call? What steps can you take to overcome them?
- What impact do you think there would be in your parish if it had a group of men who were answering the call to evangelization? How can you be a catalyst to cause this to happen?
- The article gives a possible starting point for answering the call: “Write down the names of three people you know whose faith is weak or have left the Church. Pray for them every day that their hearts would be open to receiving “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). Think about and pray about (perhaps write down) what you would say to them if the opportunity arose to share your faith.” Experiment with this starting point over the next several weeks. If you are in a men’s group, share the results at your next meeting.
- Take some time now to pray that you would say yes to the call to evangelization. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.