Sunday readings here.
If you ask me, evangelism today should be just like the evangelism that we hear about in today’s Gospel.
First, as followers of Christ, we need to understand that we are sent out. We can't simply sit comfortably in our pews, we are called to go work in the field. Second, we need to be humble. The disciples took nothing with them: no bread, no bags and no money. We need to leave our baggage behind and simply invite people to the banquet. Third, we need to understand that evangelism is all about invitation, and not at all about coercion. Jesus says, "If people don't accept you, shake the dust off your feet and leave." He didn't say to stand and argue with them. He didn't say to condemn them to hell. He told them to spread the Gospel, sow the seed, and let God do the rest. Finally, we are to evangelize with compassion. We are not to threaten people with an eternity in hell, or look for reasons why they are bad people and back it up with selected biblical verses. It is wrong to bash people over the heads with the scriptures and hope for conversion through osmosis. Rather, we are to kindly meet people where they are. We are to use only words that heal and never words that hurt.
Still, even if we follow all these pointers, our efforts will fall short if we don’t fully understand who we are and what we are about when we set out to evangelize. Why do we come to church? Why do we call ourselves Catholic? Why do we believe that our faith is better than any other? Yes, we need to be evangelists; but we need to understand why we are here in the first place. That doesn't mean we have all the answers, but it does mean that we have better answers than, "Because I've always gone to church, etc." We need to know what draws us, what excites us, what comforts us. And when we know that, and when we truly live the faith in which we profess belief, then and only then, will we be ready to invite others to join us.
- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor