16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 23, 2017
Dear Lord, grant me the grace to be obedient to Your Word so that I may be the instrument of evangelization that You desire. Amen.
Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States (published in 1992) names three important layers of evangelization: (1) Nurture your own faith-growth, (2) invite others to conversion, and (3) transform society through true Christian living. In this Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us these same three strategies, using parables.
(1) Nurture your own faith-growth: In the kingdom of God, we are like good wheat growing amidst weeds. This takes effort; the weeds will take over if we're not working daily at growing in holiness. What have you been doing to prevent the weeds around you from taking over and strangling your holiness? How is your faith life benefiting from living in the midst of non-believers and evil? Your Father-Creator is empowering you to grow.
(2) Invite others to conversion: In the kingdom of God, we are like the tiniest of seeds that grow into a bush so large that others benefit from our growth. Who is benefiting from your faith? How is your spiritual growth inviting them into a closer relationship with Jesus? The Holy Spirit is empowering you to evangelize others if you're willing to minister to them using what you've learned from your experiences.
(3) Transform society: In the kingdom of God, we are like yeast that helps the whole batch swell up and mature into the bread of life that nourishes others. What are you involved in, as a Christian, that improves the world? Is your faith making a difference in your workplace, your community, and your parish? During Mass, as you receive the nourishment of the Eucharist, you are empowered to become Eucharist for the world. Mass ends with Christ commissioning you, through the presider, to be the yeast of goodness that affects those around you.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Maybe you never saw yourself as an "evangelist", but you are! This is your calling as a baptized Christian. Which of the above three areas of evangelization are you most actively doing? Which needs more of your attention?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Give an example from your own life (or from the life of someone you know or have heard about) that illustrates one of the three goals above. What about the other goals? Make sure that, in your discussion as a faith sharing group, examples are given for all three goals of evangelization.
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