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Evangelization is Necessary for Salvation!

 What is the purpose of our existence? The Baltimore Catechism asks the question, “Who made us?” Answer: “God made us.” “Why did God make us?” Answer: “God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with Him everlasting happiness in heaven.”

How can we serve Him? God gives each and every person various gifts. What we do with these gifts is our offering back to God. Jesus established the Church in order use it to bring all to salvation. The purpose of the Church is to spread the Gospel message. Each of us, as members of the body of Christ, has certain responsibilities toward the spreading of this message and the furtherance of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The time will come when each of us will stand before Jesus and be judged according to our life in the body. Some will reap the reward due to a good and faithful servant and spend eternity enveloped in God’s love, some will have to be purged of the self-love that caused their sins before they reach the perfection required to enter heaven, others will be cast into Gehenna to suffer for all eternity.

How will we be judged? What standard will Jesus use? There is only one, and that is perfection. Jesus made that clear in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt. 5:48). Most would say that perfection is unattainable, but why would Jesus set a goal for us that we could never reach. Does He say, “Run the race, but you will never reach the finish line?” No, of course not, there must a finish line and the corresponding reward for running a good race.

The key is in understanding what Jesus meant by “perfection”. The answer, I believe, is found in St. Luke’s Gospel, “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him (Jesus) to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?"  And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live" (Lk 10:25-28). Love is the answer.

One most important way in which we can show our love of God and neighbor is by sharing the Gospel message. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that evangelization is necessary for salvation (§1816). What will you say when you stand before the Master on your day of judgment and He asks, “Whom did you bring with you?” Winning souls for Christ must be the focus of our spiritual existence.

The Holy Father has been calling for a new evangelization since the beginning of his pontificate. Few have heeded this call. The Church is in state of turmoil, both at home and abroad. Tens of thousands fall away from the Church each and every year, primarily because they do not have a proper understanding of the Gospel message. Leaving behind Christ’s Church, they travel the highways and byways in search of the true Gospel. For some the quest will bring them full circle, back home to Catholicism; others will spend their lives in a maze of contradictory theological propositions.

Yet, Church history demonstrates us that whenever the Church has been in trouble, God raised up saints and heroes to fight the good fight. Many of the men and woman we now call Doctors of the Church, were involved in the struggle to reclaim souls after the Protestant Revolt of the sixteenth century.

God is calling each of us to be soldiers for Christ. We must serve the Lord by reaching out to those within our parishes, and provide educational programs, for both youths and adults, which will enable a full understanding of the truths of Catholicism and sink Catholic roots so deep that they will never be undermined. We must also go beyond the parish into our communities and invite our churchless friends and neighbors to worship with us, in truth and in light.

We must be on fire for Christ. Anything less is just not acceptable. Scripture states, "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-17).

The Catechism describes the sacraments as “Masterworks of God” (§1116) and “necessary for salvation (§1129). We must do all we can to lead our loved ones, friends and neighbors to the glories of the Church and, most importantly, the sacraments.

The rewards are plentiful. Each time you share your faith with another, both benefit. The listener may begin a joyous new life in Christ and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are living up to the mandate of Christ to be a good and faithful servant.

 

© 2002 – Victor R. Claveau

 

Part or all of this article may be reproduced without obtaining permission as long as the author is cited.

 

 

“Certain thoughts are prayers.

There are moments when the soul is kneeling,

no matter what the attitude of the body may be.”

Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885)

 

 

 

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