Evangelizing Disciples

The critical moment in a relay race is the passing of the baton from one runner to another. More relays are won or lost at that moment than at any other. The feast of the Ascension might be compared to the passing of the baton in a relay race. Jesus, before his ascension, passed the baton of responsibility for the Kingdom of God to his followers. Jesus commissioned them to complete the work he had begun. Practically, what does this mean? How do you and I, in the 21st century, carry out Jesus’ commission to be his witnesses to the world? There are as many ways to do this as there are Christians.

The world history reveals that several leaders have adapted different methods of bringing changes in their own country. For instance, Nietchze, the German philosopher (1844- 1900) advocated humanism and proposed the development of a "superman" of Aryan heritage, protected by selective breeding and superior education. The Nazi Party picked up his idea, and men like Hitler set about building such a society in Germany. But it all ended with bullets, bombs, chaos, and suffering such as the world has seldom seen.
Hitler tried to renew the human race through destructive forces. The Christian Faith does not advocate such a plan, but involves a higher order. It believes that the human race cannot be renewed by human efforts alone, but primarily, it is the works of God. Secondly, the mission given by the ascending Jesus is not to make converts or Church members, but to act as evangelizing disciples! How does it happen?

We have a few priests in the diocese of Lafayette who renounced their lucrative businesses and jobs to join the seminary and become priests. We can do what Albert Schweitzer did. At the age of 30 he abandoned his music career in Europe to study medicine and became a missionary doctor in Africa. We can do what a Poor Clare (Franciscan) nun, Mother Angelica, did. In her 50’s, she began a Catholic religious television channel, EWTN. We can do what St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) did.

While some prefer to be passive in being evangelizing disciples, some really try to do something beautiful for God in their own way: It may be just caring for a neighbor who is old and has no one to help, teaching religion to the children, tutoring a student who is poor in study, parents becoming partners in faith formation of their children, inviting a friend to Church on Sunday, doing sacristy work or arranging flowers, being part of choir in the Church, etc. Those who do such acts are ‘evangelizing disciples.’ Becoming witnesses to Jesus will happen when baptized Christians do more acts of love. Are you a part of it? Do you want to be part of it?

Jesus has passed the baton to you…


In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church