Bishop's Heart and Mind - The Joy of the Gospel
In recent weeks I have been on my Visitation and Confirmation Round of the Pilbara, and on my return I moved straight into our Diocesan Evangelisation Conference that is being reported on in this issue.

It is amazing how when things like this Conference are on your mind and in your prayer, you notice the good things that are happening around the Diocese in regard to sharing the ‘joy’ of the Gospel.

One such example is of a woman and her lively children - a 3yr old girl and a 2yr old boy.

During my week in her Parish, Mum was able to bring these children to a couple of evening weekday Masses. On entering the church she had taught them to go up closer to the tabernacle and say ‘Hi’ to Jesus. The girl leads the way and bows to the tabernacle, followed dutifully and enthusiastically by her brother - with a very quick bow - before racing back to Mum.

The Pastoral Associate Sister had also observed this. As she takes Scripture classes and prepares children for the Sacraments, at times she gathers them in an area towards the back of the church. As they come into the church Sister has also encouraged the children to go to the tabernacle to say ‘Hi’ to Jesus before they join the group.

These two children have a German father. Recently they visited Germany to be with their relatives there. At meals the children would not start until they had said grace - in German!

As I spoke to the mother about these things, she said, “They are my little evangelisers”. That family and those children are certainly sharing the Good News in ordinary ways.

Who are called to evangelise?

Pope Francis in paragraph 119 and 120 of his Apostolic Exultation Evangelii Gaudium (‘The joy of the Gospel’) says that EVERYONE is.
“In all the baptised, from first to last, the sanctifying power of the Spirit is at work, impelling us to evangelisation”. “In virtue of their baptism all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples” (cf Matt28:19) “…..every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelisation; indeed anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus…”.


Pope Francis says we are called to bring the Good News everywhere. In Matthew we see how the risen Christ sent his followers to preach the Gospel in every time and place, so that Faith in him might spread to every corner of the earth (EG Para 19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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)

A personal encounter with Jesus is so important. “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (EG Para 1). “I invite all Christians everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or even an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day” (EG Para 3).  “The primary reason for evangelising is the love of Jesus which we have received….what kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make him known”. (EG Para 264)


Reading and reflecting on the document will give us the answer to this. I also believe though that with this personal encounter with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will reveal some of that ‘how’.

I return to the family I spoke of. The parents are sharing the love of Jesus with those young children. They in turn have already shared it in simple ways with other children in the Parish and even with people overseas at meal times. 

Yes everyone can do it, in so many ways and wherever people find themselves. Critical to this is the daily encounter and growing relationship with Jesus.