The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 425)
All mission begins with the Father sending Jesus to reveal His love. The Father’s love is the source of life and joy, and therefore to love us Jesus desires that we know the supreme joy of being loved by the Father. In this way Jesus lives the precept of loving his neighbours as he loves himself. Wee see this in St Andrew who, immediately after encountering Jesus, went and “found his own brother Simon and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’….Then he brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1:41-42). We see it in the Samaritan woman who declared to her neighbours: “Come see a man who told me everything I have done” (Jn 4:29). We see it in Peter’s invitation to the crowds to be baptised on Pentecost. We see it in St Paul’s mission and in all the missionaries throughout the Church’s history.
St Augustine writes: “Any good thing that can be shared is not properly possessed until it is being shared."
This applies pre-eminently to the supreme good of Christian faith. To pass the faith on to others, to evangelise, is to fulfil the commandment to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
By Douglas Bushman and published in the Magnificat Year of Faith Companion