KERYGMA AND EVANGELIZATION A CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

ACTS 2:14 PETER PROCLAIMS THE GOOD NEWS

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words… Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.  This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it….Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

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?” Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized,* every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Sometimes in our attempts to evangelize we try to do too much.  Maybe it’s time to get back to basics..  Not long ago we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost.  After receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples under the leadership of Peter went out with the first proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This first proclamation of the Church of Christ is called kerygma. Kerygma is from a Greek word meaning “proclamation”. They proclaimed a message that was rather basic and simple.

The basic proclamation was that Jesus is the chosen Messiahof God, the one who was promised. And though he was crucified, He rose gloriously from the dead, appearing to his disciples, and having been exulted at the right hand of the Father through his ascension, now summons all to him, through the ministry of the Church.

This proclamation (kerygma) requires a response from us, that we should repent of our sins accept baptism and live in the new life which Christ is offering. There is an urgent need to conform ourselves to Christ and be prepared by him for the coming judgment.

The Apostles and Christ’s Church would go on to develop more and deeper theology from the Teachings of Jesus, for example, the theology of grace, Christology, Ecclesiology, Trinitarian theology, and so forth. But these deeper concepts could wait until the soul has first been cleansed of sin, and the darkness of mind that sin brings.

Our tendency today is to unload everything at once, to instruct converts in the whole counsel of Christ, before they are even initiated, and ask that they assent to all of it, before they are baptized, or received into the Church.

Often for example, people rush to the demands of our moral norms with little understanding or experience of the grace that life in Christ provides. Within days of entering RCIA, the students are being asked to ponder sophisticated notions of sanctifying versus actual grace, transubstantiation, Trinitarian mysteries, and so forth.

It is too easy today for people to get lost in the weeds, and to miss the essential point. God loves you, sent His only Son as Redeemer and Savior of the world, wills your happiness and salvation and with be with you now and forever and will never abandon you.

CONCLUSION

In some sense, the current times are not unlike the pagan world of Jesus. Most have not heard Christ, or the Scriptures authentically proclaimed. But rather they are besieged by a world that readily scoffs at the teachings of Christ and His Church.

 Jesus Christ, died to set us free and offer us new life. He calls to you now, that he might save you and give to you a whole new life. He died to give you this life, and having been raised from the dead, he ascended to the Father, where he is drawing you to himself even now, calling you by name, and offering you deliverance from every sinful and destructive drive, establishing you in a new, more glorious, and hopeful life. Come to him now, repent of your sins, and let him begin the good work in you.

This is the basic Kerygma. It is the starting point, the initial proclamation, the summons, the invitation: the conviction of sins, but the announcement of loving hope..

PRAYER

Jesus, my Savior, help me to accept your gift of salvation.  I am deeply sorry for having broken communion with you and my neighbor. Heal what I have hurt and strengthen what I have weakened.  I know you will never abandon me.  Prune me with your graces, make me whole again, cleanse me of my sins, and in your mercy bring me to eternal life.

(I would like to thank Msgr. Charles Pope for info on kerygma.) (FrPope.com)

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