Evangelization is not theoretical, but involves getting up and going, in real life.
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on the account of Philip’s evangelizing activity in Acts 8:26-40.
“Evangelization is not theoretical,” the Pope said. “Evangelization takes place person to person. The starting point is a situation, not a theory. Philip announces Jesus Christ, and the courage of the Spirit moves him to baptize. Go beyond.”
“Go, go, until you feel that your work has been accomplished. This is how to evangelize,” the Pope said.
To explain evangelization, the Pope used three expressions: “Get up”, “draw near”, and “start with an actual situation.”
Every Christian, Francis stressed, has an obligation and mission to evangelize. The Lord, the Jesuit Pope observed, evangelizes and wants us to, “just like the wind does with seeds from plants, it transports and sows them elsewhere.”
Discussing “Get up and go,” the Pope said: “Evangelization is not proselytism.”
“True evangelization takes place under the action of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who indicates in mysterious ways where we are to go and to whom we are to ‘proclaim the name of Jesus.’”
Reflecting on the Holy Spirit’s interaction with Philip, the Pope said: “And he begins saying: “Get up and go”. Get up and go to that place. An ‘armchair’ evangelization does not exist. “Get up and go”. It is always on the move. “Go”. Movement. Go to the place where you must declare the Word.”
Many missionaries who left everything to bring the Word of God to far away places, the Pope observed, “not having the antibodies to resist the illnesses of those lands,” died or were martyred.
The Holy Father emphasized ‘drawing near’ in order to use actual situations.
Instead of beginning with a theory, the Holy Father noted, we need to draw near to what is actually occurring and start from that. Evangelization, he noted, is not about theory, but about real situations and people.
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “Go, go, until you feel that your work has been accomplished. This is how to evangelize.”