In the Acts of the Apostles there is a gradual discovery of how big Our Lord’s plans are in regard to the world’s salvation. Some of the first Christians, since all of them were converts from Judaism, believed only the Jews would be saved. Others believed that all believers, whether Jewish or not, should be circumcised and follow Mosaic law. regarding diet, who they associate with, and so on. When the “circumcised believers” confront Peter in today’s First Reading for entering into non-Jewish homes, a source of ritual contamination, Peter explains that the Holy Spirit sent him to do so and the Spirit showed him that the Gentiles were to be saved as well.
Some people even today think that Christianity shouldn’t be imposed on people, and they’re right: proselytism, which means forcing your faith on someone against their will, is wrong, and it doesn’t work. You can’t force anyone to believe in Christ. However, evangelization is not proselytism; evangelization is sharing with others who Christ is and what we believe he means to us and to them. It’s extending an invitation, an invitation that the invitee is free to accept or decline. Sharing with others who Christ is necessarily involves sharing with others who we are, therefore every Christian should be free to do so and, sadly, in some countries that brings hatred and persecution.
Moreover, evangelization is not just fact-sharing, a public awareness campaign. It is also the work of the Spirit who moves believers to invite non-believers, non-believers who are also moved by the Spirit, as in today’s First Reading, to seek out others who’ll help them find the surest path to salvation: knowing and believing in Christ.
Let’s be open to what the Holy Spirit is inviting us to do, and also not be shy about extending the invitation to know and believe in Christ.
Readings: Acts 11:1–18; Psalm 42:2–3, 43:3–4; John 10:1–10. See also 4th Week of Easter, Monday.