Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus directs his disciples to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest,” to pray for evangelists to rescue the lost. But what precisely does it mean to evangelize?
Euangelion (glad tidings) was a familiar word in the culture of the New Testament authors. When the emperor or one of his generals won a battle, he would send evangelists ahead to announce the glad tidings.
The first Christians were being edgy when they adapted the word to their purposes. They were saying that the definitive battle had indeed been won, but that it had nothing to do with Caesar and his armies. It had to do with the victory that God had won in Christ over sin and death.
Jesus went into the belly of the beast—into the heart of our dysfunction, to the limits of godforsakenness—and he defeated the dark powers. He demonstrated that the divine love is greater than our greatest enemies.
This evangelical message entails, too, that there is a new King, a new Emperor. Christ, the victor over sin and death, must be the center of your life.