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September 21, 2009
A Realization in Evangelization: (Part one of a three-part series on Evangelization)
By Jon Leonetti *

By Jon Leonetti *

We believe, oh yes, we do believe. And it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? It’s an incredible gift of faith, given by a God who wants nothing more than to spend eternity with us. Despite our unworthiness, despite the many times we have turned away, we have a God who continually fills our hearts with this ‘need’- a need that begs us to live as we were created to live. And with this precious gift of faith we are also given something else. Responsibility – a responsibility to go "unto all the world and proclaim the Good News." A responsibility to "not be afraid" and to "cast out into the deep" with our very lives. So, the question at hand is… are we fulfilling this call? Are we, a people entrusted with this hope, in turn, sharing it with others?

When someone asks me ‘why’ I believe in God, I answer it quite simply. "It’s because my parents do." This might seem shallow, and "not deep enough," but when I really think about it, it’s the main reason. Sure, I have had many moving experiences with God. I have experienced him in the riches of prayer in ways I cannot describe. I have seen Him transform people so lost, so broken, into the most hopeful people I have ever known. But that is not the core reason I believe. The core reason I believe is simply because my parents did. And that is not a bad thing! In fact, I would venture to say that this is the reason for many. If not our parents, than someone who we came to know, affecting our lives in a way that allowed us to experience, first-hand, the love of our God.

When I used to think of the word evangelization I automatically equated it with "preaching" (I will write more about this thought in the articles to come). This is certainly not the case. Evangelization goes much deeper than just words behind a pulpit.

We have all been called to evangelize in a particular way… a way that is different from everyone else. We have all been called to a simple, but yet profound way of spreading the Good News to the world. It begins by taking care of the specific responsibilities that have been entrusted to each of us. It may be in a way of raising a Christ-centered family, or a missionary preacher. Each of us has a role in furthering God’s kingdom and no way is insignificant. Even if when I was young my father would fall asleep during the homily and my mother and sister would argue throughout the Mass (of course this is no longer the case), I was still there. It was a non-negotiable for my family to be present every Sunday. It was within that drive every Sunday morning to St. Pius X Catholic Church that I was taught the importance of this life of faith. That is what has allowed me to fall in love with my God…and without my parents, I would have never seen the need to enter into this relationship.

Throughout this series I will examine the universal call to evangelize, as well as the specific ways we can take part in furthering God’s kingdom. There are no excuses. We have been called in a way of love and truth to bring this hope that we share to a world so heavily in need. It has been brought to us. Whether that be by our parents, or every weekend from our parish priest. Now it’s our turn to "be not afraid" and take part in this "new evangelization" of love.

 

Jon Leonetti is a Catholic radio host and speaker, providing keynote presentations and parish missions in churches, schools and conferences across the country. You can find more information on Jon at his website: www.jdleonetti.com

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