Au In the beginning was the Word

1. We are facing a Christian central experience that is not only a experience of God but also an experience of Christ: HE IS WITH YOU, according to his promise (Mt 28,20). It is necessary to announce this to believe and to live. But, How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!”(Rm 10,14-15). In different circumstances and situations, Christian experience of faith includes several constants of apostolic evangelization that are valid always and also now. Let us see them.


2. Jesus’ evangelization had started outside Jewish circles, in Galilee, but their final destiny was Judea. In Judea,  Jerusalem. An in Jerusalem,  the temple, center of the religious, political and economic power. A  dangerous destiny. Jerusalem, the most religious town on earth, is also the town that kills the prophets (Mt 23,37). Jesus goes up to Jerusalem humbly, peacefully, without using force. Jerusalem does not have to be afraid (Jn 12,15). The path to Jerusalem ended in the temple. The temple is stained: it must to be a house of prayer but it has become a den of thieves (Mk 11, 17). So the temple must be purified. Moreover it must be substituted (Jn 2,13.22). The new temple, it does not mind where (Jn 4,21), will be built with living stones (1P 2,5).


3. The denunciation of the temple determines the process opened against Jesus, condemned as blasphemy (Mt 26,59-66). They want to kill him but Jews could not execute anybody (Jn 18,31). Romans controlled the power of the death penalty. And  not only that but also the nomination and destitution of the high priest as well as the scribes’ properties. Jesus was lead to the praetorium so that Roman authority could finish the process. Official reason for condemnation: political plot (Mt 27,37). From now on it is forbidden to evangelize without taking part in the conflict that lead Christ to the cross. We announce a Christ crucified (1Co 1,23).


4. Peter proclaimed on Pentecost day what happened afterwards as the center of the Christian message. What was unheard of, unthinkable, and incredible occurred: Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2,36). This is already the great event: Jesus crucified by the turbid justice of this world, had been constituted the Lord of history. The newborn Church has experienced this because it had been given to recognize Jesus through many signs that happened as a fruit of his appearance, which initiated for the whole world the dawn of a new day, the resurrection day, a day that never will be finished.


5. The fact that Jesus was recognized as the Lord of history means a profound, radical change: Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Pedro said to them: Repent (Acts 2,37). Turn away from that justice and order that condemned Christ! First Christians become “crazy”: They had everything in common! (Acts 4,32). Really, conversion is always done within a process. It is a follow-up. Every step will be making a story that will be recognized and celebrated as a story of salvation.


6. Forgiveness, amnesty, fulfillment from God’s side is an essential part of the good news of the Gospel: God has nothing against you God loves you. St. Peter proclaims it on Pentecost day (Acts 2,38). S. Paul proclaimed it at Antioch in Pisidia (13, 35). Whoever  starts to believe and starts to change is already judged favorable by God. In the personal encounter with Christ, dead and resurrected, God’s justice is manifested not the justice that condemns but the one that saves (Rm 3, 21-22). As St. John says: Whoever believes in him will not be condemned (Jn 3,18). And St. Paul: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rm 8,1).


7. Action of the Spirit is a reality that springs forth in Christ’s  Resurrection (Jn 7,37-39). From then on, the time of the Spirit has arrived. The Spirit is the great promise of Jesus (Jn 14, 16.26; 16, 7-15), and also for the world of today: The promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far away, for those who call Lord our God (Acts 2,38). Faith experience is made possible in the dynamics of the Spirit. St. Augustine says: If nowadays the presence of the Spirit does not fulfill with signs (as then), how will it be possible for anyone to know that he or she has received the Spirit?


8. The apostles refer to the experience of the Spirit as a fact that everyone can experience: What you see and listen. The action of the Spirit means fulfillment of Jesus’ promise: They are not drunk (Acts 2,15). What happens is that the mission of Jesus is being vindicated by the Father. And in what a way! God is doing a work that you will never believe even if someone tells you (13,41). So, if the message seems incredible it is true that it is announced in the middle of a challenge: about it we are all witnesses (2,32) and further more exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promised Spirit from the Father and poured it forth as you see and hear. (2,33).


9. Whoever embraces evangelization is incorporated into the community. To evangelize is not only to form Christians but also to form community. The disciple of Jesus is not isolated nor does he go on his own but forms a group, forms community. The community is born and grows up by evangelization action: every day the Lord added to their number those who had to be saved (Acts 2,47).


10. In our society many are the baptized but few the evangelized. Apart from quantity data we still can (and must) ask to ourselves: Who have come to  recognize  that Jesus is the Lord? Who lives the justice of the Gospel? Who confesses to believe in the whole faith of the Church? Who lives their faith in community? Who is witness of it? Who allows themselves to be lead by the action of the Spirit?   Who  shares the conflict that lead Christ to the cross? Finally, who is  basically  evangelized? Even bargaining a lot, as Abraham (Gn 18,28-32), we have to recognize that there are really few and conclude with a national confession (Ps 106): Spain is also a country that needs to be evangelized.