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As Catholics, our duty to evangelize is so important that if we don't evangelize, we'll never make it to Heaven.
In his 1990 papal encyclical Redemptionis Missio, Pope St. John Paul II reiterated the Church's mandate to spread the gospel. He wrote, "I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes [to the nations]. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church, can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples."
In the parable of the laborers in the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord admonishes His listeners: "Go you also into my vineyard" (Matthew 20:4).
Pope St. John Paul II, in his document Christifideles Laici, interprets this to be directed to the laity of the Church. From the earliest days of the Church, lay people assisted the Lord and His Apostles in their evangelization. They helped to take care of the needs of the Lord and the Apostles.
The job of the laity is to spread the gospel by living it faithfully in their daily lives. They also must preach to their family and neighbors, both by word and by example.
Referring to the laity, the Second Vatican Council declared:
They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God, that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the gospel, they may work for the sanctification of the world from within.
In modern times, the Church has reconfirmed Her role of evangelization. Afterward, Pope Paul VI declared in his apostolic letter Evangelii Nuntiandi, "The presentation of the gospel message is not an optional contribution to the Church. It is the duty incumbent on Her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced."
In our troubling times, Catholics are all the more obliged to be witnesses to the truths of the Faith.
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