Today, Christianity is faced with increasing religious indifference and secularism, moral degradation and sexual immorality, consumerism and greed for wealth, shameful public life and unethical scientific experimentation in the name of progress, as well as terrorism and violence in certain parts of the world.
To deal with this unprecedented situation, Christianity must find new and effective ways of evangelizing and proclaiming the Good News. It must evolve ways that are in keeping with today's culture, ways that will meet the spiritual demands and find a response from today's mankind.
As usual, the answers we seek are in the Holy Scriptures. Looking back to the beginning of Christianity, before Jesus was taken up to heaven, He gave the following mandate to His apostles, to be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit: To "preach the Good News to everyone" (Mk 16: 15), to "make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28: 19-20), to "heal people and set them free" (Mk 16: 17-18) and to "be my witnesses to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1: 8).
No doubt, this mandate was given to the apostles 2000 years ago, but it also holds true for every Christian today, because this privilege was passed on to us by the Lord's own words: "Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you" (Jn 20: 21).
Further, the Lord has stamped a "Guaranteed To Succeed" watermark on this assignment He has set before us: "I tell you for certain that anyone who has faith in me will do the same things I am doing" (Jn 14: 12). Yet, most Christians will balk at the mere suggestion to take on this awesome mission for the Lord. The majority will not feel qualified and gifted to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, others may even be reluctant to preach or to heal, but all Christians are in a position to be authentic witnesses to the Lord, as He was to His Father in heaven.
Today, Christians are called by the witness of their lives to take part, in an increasingly important way, in spreading the Good News to those that come in contact with them in their day to day lives. Today, there is an urgent need for Christians to involve themselves in groups and movements to safeguard human rights and to promote truth and justice in public life, to reach out to the weaker sectors of society, to address the social evils of alcoholism, drug addiction and sexual child abuse, and to infuse all cultures with the values of the kingdom of God.
Today, it is the duty of the Christian laity to be at the forefront in seeking to apply the teaching of Jesus Christ to the ethical, moral and social questions which arise in their communities. The task before every Christian, therefore, is to ensure that they are true witnesses to Jesus Christ, able to face the challenges of today's world, not just with worldly wisdom and work ethos, but with their hearts renewed and strengthened by the two basic tenets of Christianity - love of God and love for their fellowmen.
If we truly love God, this immense love will radiate out to all those who come in contact with us - in our families, in our work places, and in our communities - making us true witnesses to the Lord.