ARTICLE – What is Most Pleasing to God? Bringing Souls to Christ

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus sends his followers on a mission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). This is the Great Commission which makes clear that Christians are called to spread the Good News and help others come to know and follow Jesus Christ.

Pope Paul VI echoed this truth in his Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, writing “We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church… Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize” (no. 14). Leading individuals to Christ lies at the core of the Church’s purpose and identity.

The eternal salvation of souls should be the focus of all evangelization efforts. As Jesus says in Mark’s Gospel, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36). Temporal things are passing away, but leading someone to eternal life with God in Heaven is of infinite and everlasting value.

Pope St. John Paul II highlighted this urgency and primacy in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, stating the Church’s supreme priority is to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ known to all peoples: “Proclamation is the permanent priority of mission. The Church cannot elude Christ’s explicit mandate, nor deprive men and women of the “Good News” about their being loved and saved by God” (no. 44).  Missionary evangelization “is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world” (no. 2).

Scripture is filled with vivid reminders of God’s immense joy when one sinner repents and returns to Him (see Luke 15). Jesus says “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent” (Lk 15:7). Each time someone accepts the Gospel and commits their life to Christ, it brings profound gladness to the Lord and all the angels and saints.

While all good works please God, there is no greater source of delight for Him than when His children join in His own mission of leading others to salvation in Christ. All Christians are called to participate in this supreme task of proclaiming Christ through spoken words and exemplifying Christian values in their daily lives. This form of evangelization possesses distinctive characteristics and particular effectiveness as it takes place within the regular circumstances of the world (CCC 905). Through our love, prayers, and evangelization efforts, we become co-workers with God in the salvation of souls.

Pierre-Alain Giffard

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