Why Catholics Should Witness Verbally to the Gospel
July-August 1993By Thomas Weinandy
The Rev. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., is a tutor in theology at Greyfriars Hall, Oxford University.
God created us in love to be His sons and daughters. Yet we, beginning with Adam and Eve, rebelled against Him. God did not abandon us to our sin, but lovingly called each of us back to Himself lest we be eternally lost. Jesus, as the eternal Son of God incarnate, makes present the definitive saving love of God the Father.
While God loves everyone unconditionally, only in Jesus can a person experience and know the full redeeming love of God. Non-Christians may know that God loves them and experience His providential care, yet it is through faith in Jesus that the love of God is poured into our hearts to satisfy thoroughly our deepest longing. Only if Christians themselves have experienced the Fathers forgiving love, and know the difference such an experience makes, will they, in love, tell others that such love is freely available to them in Jesus. Not surprisingly, the zeal to evangelize is found among those who truly know and experience the Gospel.
Death comes to all, and yet, in conquering sin, Jesus vanquished the curse of death. Death may place its destructive mark upon the body, but those who live in Christ will not taste the fullness of death, but die into a life of eternal happiness. Those who participate in the resurrected life of Christ have the assurance of their own resurrection.
Non-Christians may get to Heaven, but we, who are Christian, contend that true assurance comes only through a life lived in Christ. Because non-Christians do not know Christ and the power of His cross, they are incapable of adequately dealing with sin and its condemnation, and therefore their position before God is perilous. The Gospel is of eternal significance. Heaven and Hell are specifically at issue here. For Christians not to evangelize is the epitome of negligence and indifference toward others.
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