ARTICLE – The Language of Evangelization

In the New Testament, St. Paul explains that Christ commissioned him to proclaim the Gospel using the language of the cross, stating that this language is the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).

The language of the cross refers to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, centered on the message of His redemptive death and resurrection. Speaking the language of the cross involves emphasizing the saving sacrifice of Jesus and its necessity for the salvation of humanity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 480).

The language of the cross emphasizes the following key elements:

  1. The nature of sin: It underscores that all human beings are sinners, separated from God by their transgressions and unable to save themselves (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 396-409).
  2. The sacrifice of Jesus: It presents Jesus’ death on the cross as a voluntary and expiatory act that paid the price of sin. Jesus, who was without sin, took upon Himself the consequences of humanity’s sin to allow for reconciliation with God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 613-618).
  3. Grace and forgiveness: It highlights that Jesus’ death offers grace and forgiveness to all who believe in Him. The preaching of the cross emphasizes that salvation is a free gift from God, granted by His grace and received through faith in Jesus Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1441-1449).
  4. The resurrection: It underscores the resurrection of Jesus as proof of His victory over sin and death, and as a source of hope for all believers. The preaching of the cross includes the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection and its central role in the plan of salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 638-655).

To evangelize, we must speak the language of the cross, proclaiming the love of God manifested through the sacrifice of Jesus, inviting people to place their faith in Him and receive salvation and eternal life.

Speaking the language of the cross also means committing to following Christ’s example of sacrificial love and embracing the difficulties and challenges that come with a life of faith. It reminds us that true love requires sacrifice and that we too are called to lay down our lives for others, just as Christ laid down His life for us (Philippians 2:5-8, John 15:13).

The language of the cross is not limited to words or actions alone; it is a way of life that permeates every aspect of our being. It involves a daily commitment to love, forgiveness, prayer, repentance, and service to others, as well as a willingness to embrace obstacles and even suffering in the service of Christ.

But while our Christian journey may sometimes present its share of challenges, we can remember the timeless tale of the footprints in the Sand: One night, a person had a dream where they were walking along the beach with God. As they looked back at their life, they noticed that there were two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to them and the other to God.

However, at certain points in their life journey, they noticed that there was only one set of footprints. This troubled them, and they questioned God, saying, “Lord, you promised to be with me always. Why did you leave me when I needed you the most?”

God responded lovingly, “My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of struggle and suffering, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Pierre-Alain Giffard
Director of Pastoral Work

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