The Gospel story of the Presentation in the Temple
And when the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, they took [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord - observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord - and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple: and when the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
“Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all
the nations to see,
the light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of
your people Israel”
Evangelisation: the witness of daily life and presence in charity to others
Evangelisation is the name the Church gives to the work of spreading the Gospel in the world. The first way in which the Church evangelises is by the witness of Catholics in their daily lives, a witness of charity towards others.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
'Our communities, when they celebrate the Eucharist, must become ever more conscious that the sacrifice of Christ is for all, and that the Eucharist thus compels all who believe in him to become "bread that is broken" for others' We are thus encouraged to commit ourselves in the first person to helping our brethren, especially those in difficulty, because the vocation of every Christian is truly that of being, together with Jesus, bread that is broken for the life of the world.
[Benedict XVI, message for the World Day for the Sick, 11th February 2008, quoting Sacramentum Caritatis n.88]
Evangelisation: primary proclamation, leading to an initial conversion to Christ
Another way in which the Church evangelises is by explicitly preaching the Gospel to those who do not believe. This primary proclamation aims at bringing others to believe in Jesus Christ, an initial conversion.
Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time
That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
[1 John 1:3]
..evangelising means above all else bearing witness simply and clearly to God as he is revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ, proclaiming that he has loved the world in his Son and that in the Incarnate Word he has given existence to all creatures and has called men to eternal life …
Evangelisation will always contain, as the foundation … this explicit declaration: in Jesus Christ who became man, died and rose again from the dead salvation is offered to every man as the gift of grace and mercy of God himself ….
Evangelisation … includes the preaching of the promises made by God in the new covenant through Jesus Christ, the preaching of the love of God for us and of our love for God. It includes the preaching of fraternal love for all men …
[Pope Paul VI Evangelii Nuntiandi nn.26-28]
Systematic teaching about the Catholic faith is another part of the Church’s work of evangelisation. This is called catechesis.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me”.
[1 Cor 11:23-25]
Being Christ centred in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one’s own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that he communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that he is…. in catechesis it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught…
[Pope John Paul II Catechesi Tradendae n.6]
…within the whole process of evangelisation, the aim of catechesis is to be the teaching and maturation stage, that is to say, the period in which the Christian ….endeavours to know better this Jesus to whom he has entrusted himself ….
It is true that being a Christian means saying “yes” to Jesus Christ, but let us remember that this “yes” has two levels: it consists in surrendering to the word of God and relying on it, but it also means, at a later stage, endeavouring to know better and better the profound meaning of this word.
[Pope John Paul II Catechesi Tradendae nn.20-21]
(Candles and flowers rearranged so that the children would not fall over the candles!)