‘Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations’
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
On the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, 29 June 2009, the Holy Father Benedict XVI closed the Year of St Paul in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. As we know the Church and the faithful cordially welcomed the Pope’s initiative to have St Paul a special patron of the Church on the occasion of his 2000th anniversary of birth, and that all people remembered this wonderful Apostle to the Nations. As a matter of fact, he was the first evangeliser. He did not know Christ born in Bethlehem but through the vision Christ gave him he got to know him and his teaching. What St Paul saw and taught, what he transmitted in his Letters he received from Lord Jesus in a divine way. Christ gave Paul sight and possibility to discern his doctrine. On the one hand, Jesus came to the world to evangelise; he lived and was with people; he behaved as an ordinary man; he was crucified, died and rose from the dead on the third day; he did a great thing before his departure: he established the Eucharist, priesthood. And on the other hand, Paul the Apostle came and proclaimed the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. He dedicated his whole life to him; there was no border he would not overcome. He did all things for him; he even gave his life. St Paul proclaimed Christ to the whole ancient world. He did nothing that was not related to the Saviour of the world. Thanks to that we read the texts of St Paul and learn a lot about the Christian doctrine. Studying his teaching our eyes get open to faith and we are almost shocked by the extraordinary knowledge of the Apostle to the Nations.
The Year of St Paul contributed to the revival of the Christian teaching, to bigger love for Christ and to stronger evangelisation. The world began gaining new dynamics and the Church received new powers to proclaim Christ so that she could use all possibilities of the 21st century. The Pauline teaching must have accelerated evangelisation. I am not afraid of using the term ‘accelerated evangelisation’ because I think that we need it. People should notice that not all nations know Christ, that many nations, especially in Asia, do not know who he is. Therefore, today St Paul revives us, revives the Church and reminds us of proclaiming Jesus to the entire world and to be his zealous followers. Missionaries should become brands to make the person of Jesus Christ close to people. You should proclaim Christ not only as someone you know but above all with love so that your involvement is strong enough for listeners to receive it with power and Christ himself wins their hearts. That’s why St Paul is an important Apostle. The present times require that we should proclaim Christ. We cannot forget and overlook it. We are his followers and should feel responsible for that. Lord Jesus said, ‘Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations’ (cf. Matthew 28: 19). And our task is to teach the nations. This was what St Paul did – he went to people and proclaimed Christ. We should join him, using the latest communications we have at our disposal so that the world gets to know him. The albums about St Paul, published by ‘Niedziela’ and presenting the teaching of the Apostle to the Nations and the photos of the places he visited and taught, served this purpose. These publications help us get closer to the time and places where St Paul lived and worked. Thus we can be closer to the Apostle, closer to the Church and closer to one another.