Evangelization: Spread Easter joy through new and old traditions

by DEACON BILL HYNES
Tue, Apr 11th 2017 03:00 pm

If you re-read the Easter passages in the Gospels through fresh eyes you find people rushing to share their joy in Jesus Christ. Quite simply, that is evangelization. Pope Francis taught about joy in a pithy, powerful morning homily at Casa Santa Marta (May 23, 2016). "A Christian is a man, or a woman, of joy: a man and a woman with joy in their heart. There is no Christian without joy! You may be told that there are many such Christians, they are not Christians! They say they are, but they are not! They are missing something," he said.

"The Christian identity card is joy, the Gospel's joy, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of that hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that - even with the crosses and sufferings we bear in this life - is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us, and is with us."

Evangelization is simply our cup of Easter joy spilling over. Maybe we need to be reminded of how the Church began. It started with Jesus and a tiny number of believers in an obscure part of the Roman Empire. It spread by word of mouth and the witness of loving acts of Christians. And it spread quickly, like a fire. Evangelization reminds us that now it is our turn to do the same.

Think of evangelization as the restart button of Easter joy. It is an invitation to us to rediscover the rush of the first Easter. For us it can be as simple as sharing this joyous Good News in the 50 days of the liturgical season of Easter. Here are some practical ways to share your Easter joy:

  • Add "Alleluia!" to your email signature for these 50 days and change your screen saver to an image of the Risen Christ.
  • Invite someone from work to Mass with you at least once during the Easter Season.
  • Rediscover the "Regina Coeli," pray it when the church bells ring, and teach it to someone else.
  • Create a new tradition. Invite your kids and grandkids over for Mass, followed by breakfast, for all the Sundays of Easter.
  • Greet fellow Christians with the simple joyous Paschal greeting of the East; "Christ is Risen" to which they respond "Truly He is Risen."  Teach it to everyone.
  • Lift the spirits of those who preach and teach the Gospel all year. Send a word of thanks to priests, deacons, directors of faith formation and religion teachers. They need your Easter encouragement more than you know.

Pope Francis reminded us to be living witnesses of Easter joy when he raised the liturgical celebration of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast day. She is the "apostle to the apostles" and our Easter evangelization patroness. This Easter, let us share St. Mary Magdalene's words with everyone we know: "I have seen the Lord!" (John 20:18).  

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