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Gandhi famously once said of Christians, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This statement should make us shudder as disciples, not because our goal as Christians is to be liked; but rather, because our call as disciples is to live like Christ. Our very lives should point to his existence, goodness and love. Why does it seem that that’s not always (or even less often than not) the case? 

Recently, on Ave Maria Radio, Teresa Tomeo and Dr. Marlon De La Torre discussed this very statement by Gandhi, in light of Archbishop Vigneron’s letter, Unleash the Gospel, which reminds each and every one of us of our responsibility to live our lives on a mission to share the Gospel in our actions and our words.  

In their discussion, they revisit words that should move us into action: “Evangelizing is therefore a responsibility not only of bishops, priests, and religious, but every Christian individual” (Unleash the Gospel, Marker 3.1). This declaration of sharing the good news isn’t a special calling or something a disciple chooses whether or not to opt into — it is essential to the life of the disciple. And, as discussed by Tomeo and Dr. De La Torre, this calling has to take place in both our actions and our words. We have every reason to do so fearlessly since by the nature of our baptismal identity, the Spirit leads us on mission. 

Evangelizing in deed

Archbishop Vigneron reminds us in Unleash the Gospel that our evangelization will fall short if we fail to, quite literally, practice what we preach. We should be living, breathing signs of the good news of Christ risen! Teresa Tomeo and Dr. Marlon De La Torre discussed what this can look like and highlighted the reality that evangelizing through our actions doesn’t have to be complex or over-the-top. 

It can begin by actively choosing kindness in our day-to-day lives. When we live with the awareness that every person we’ll ever encounter has experienced some type of wound or hurt, we recognize that we will always have opportunities to come alongside others, help carry their burdens and share our joy and charity. In doing so, we can demonstrate the reality that our wounds and even death itself do not have the final word in light of who Jesus is. 

How can you live radical charity in your daily life and show others the joy of the good news we have in Jesus?

Evangelizing in word

While our actions are essential in evangelization, Archbishop Vigneron is quick to also remind us that “if we share the good news in deeds only, people will not learn of the One who is the source of the joy and divine love we carry within us.” (Unleash the Gospel, Marker 3.1) While actions can be powerful, they are not enough on their own; we have to boldly share why Jesus makes a difference in our lives! Tomeo and Dr. De La Torre highlighted the importance of inviting the Holy Spirit into these moments, asking for guidance when we share the Gospel. 

How can you speak up about Jesus in your daily life and  share with others the truth of the good news we have in him?

Evangelizing fearlessly 

When we consider the responsibility we have, it may be daunting or even nerve-wracking. Living and speaking boldly for the sake of the kingdom is not easy. In fact, apart from grace and the Holy Spirit in you, it’s not even possible. But the very good news that Dr. De La Torre highlighted is that, by nature of our baptism, we have what we need to carry out this responsibility! The very Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and empowers us to engage in a “renewed proclamation of the good news of Christ to the people of our time.” 

Certainly, we’re still human. We might get butterflies before sharing our testimony or asking a friend to pray with them, but our identity as daughters and sons of the Father compels us to live this way: to live on mission, dedicated to unleashing the Gospel everywhere that we go. 

Take some time to revisit and reflect on Archbishop Vigneron’s call in Unleash the Gospel. His words are for you, as you seek to be the joyful missionary disciple God has called you to be!