What sort of responsibility do lay people have when it comes to evangelization? This week, Jeff continues his deep dive into the role of lay people in the Church. Jeff shares with us the wisdom of St. John Paul II from his document Christifideles Laici.
Snippet from the Show
“Be holy as I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
The lay faithful are sharers in the priestly mission for which Jesus offered himself on the cross and continues to be offered in the celebration of the Eucharist for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity. Incorporated in Jesus Christ, the baptized are united to him and to his sacrifice in the offering they make of themselves and their daily activities (cf. _Rom_ 12:1, 2).
Through their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, “who proclaimed the kingdom of his Father by the testimony of his life and by the power of his world” the lay faithful are given the ability and responsibility to accept the gospel in faith and to proclaim it in word and deed, without hesitating to courageously identify and denounce evil.
They are also called to allow the newness and the power of the gospel to shine out every day in their family and social life, as well as to express patiently and courageously in the contradictions of the present age their hope of future glory even “through the framework of their secular life”
Because the lay faithful belong to Christ, Lord, and King of the Universe, they share in his kingly mission and are called by him to spread that Kingdom in history. They exercise their kingship as Christians, above all in the spiritual combat in which they seek to overcome in themselves the kingdom of sin (cf. Rom 6:12), and then to make a gift of themselves so as to serve, in justice and in charity
The participation of the lay faithful in the threefold mission of Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King finds its source in the anointing of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist. You are called to participate.
St. Peter clearly teaches, when he defines the baptized as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1Pt 2:9).
The Church, in fact, lives in the world, even if she is not of the world (cf. _Jn_ 17:16). She is sent to continue the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, which “by its very nature concerns the salvation of humanity, and also involves the renewal of the whole temporal order”
In fact, the Council, in describing the lay faithful’s situation in the secular world, points to it above all, as the place in which they receive their call from God: “There they are called by God.” It is in this world that we are called.
“Live in the world, that is, in every one of the secular professions and occupations. We live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very fabric of our existence is woven.”
God manifests his plan and communicates to our particular vocation of “seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God.”
We come to a full sense of the dignity of the lay faithful if we consider _the prime and fundamental vocation that the Father assigns to each of us in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit: the vocation to holiness, that is, the perfection of charity. Holiness is the greatest testimony of the dignity conferred on a disciple of Christ.
This charge is not a simple moral exhortation, but an _undeniable requirement arising from the mystery of the Church: she is the choice vine, whose branches live and grow with the same holy and life-giving energies that come from Christ; she is the Mystical Body, whose members share in the same life of holiness of the Head who is Christ. The Spirit that sanctified the human nature of Jesus in Mary’s virginal womb (cf. Lk 1:35) is the same Spirit that is abiding and working in the Church to communicate to her the holiness of the Son of God made man.
The entire People of God, and the lay faithful in particular, can find at this moment new models of holiness and new witnesses of heroic virtue lived in the ordinary everyday circumstances of human existence.
We have the ability to manifest the holiness of God and we have the responsibility to bear witness to it in all that we do.
“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
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Meet Your Host: Jeff Cavins
Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. Jeff then received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since then, he has become a leading Catholic evangelist and author.
Jeff created The Bible Timeline learning system, which revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for millions of Catholics. Since its introduction, Jeff has developed The Great Adventure series of Bible studies to help people better understand Sacred Scripture and its meaning for their lives.