A1 GOOD NEWS
St. Luke 7.vv.18-23
~The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" When the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"". Jesus had just then cured many who were blind. And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.~
The word translated "preach" in many versions of the Bible is better rendered as "Bring Good News", for that is what the original Greek word means. It is the word from which we derive "Evangel" and "Evangelism" and is the same word that St. Mark uses in the opening words of his Gospel, "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God".
It is the duty and high privilege of all Christian people to declare and share the good news - but how do we accomplish this? Consider the following account from the life of St. Francis:
It is recorded of St. Francis that he once promised to take a young Novice of the Order on a preaching tour in the neighbourhood. After visiting, helping and praying for several people who were in distress, they returned homeward; whereupon the young man, greatly perplexed, enquired of him, "When are we going to start the preaching?". "My brother", said the Saint, "we have been preaching all the time".
There are some who think that preaching means ordination and a pulpit to proclaim the word of God, not realising that all Christians are the "priesthood of all believers", and that the way in which we live, think and speak is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a witness to the love of God and the salvation wrought by Christ.
All Christian people are called to witness in the world. It is for Christians an inescapable duty and a high privilege to witness; indeed we should feel like Jeremiah (Jer.20.v9) "a burning fire shut up in our bones" if we do not so witness; for as St. Paul said,
"Woe is me, if I preach not the Good News" (ICor.9.v16)
I like this little story immensely because, as I look back over my life, I am reminded of so many "unspoken sermons" - acts of love towards me, prayers offered for me, compassion shown to me which have spoken more eloquently than words could ever have done. I treasure the memories of so many loving souls who can never have known how, by their deeds as well as words, they have "preached" to me and drawn me into the love of Christ.