Note: This post originally appeared at NewEvangelizers.Com
If elitism is considering a person (or group of people) superior to others, then our desire to follow Jesus’ command to evangelize demands that we abandon any elitist attitudes. The true evangelist believes that the Good News is, as the Venerable Pope Paul VI wrote in 1975,“meant for all people of all times” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, §13).
If we are to be true evangelists, this forces us into uncomfortable and new places. It means that we must seek to spread the Gospel to all people—the rich and the poor, the passionate and the indifferent, our friends and our “enemies,” those of status and those whom society would deem worthless. And (this is where it gets even tougher!) we must cultivate “an ever-increasing love” for those who are being evangelized (EN, §75). To be an evangelist is see every person as God does—quite the opposite of an elitist viewpoint of others.
The work of evangelization also cuts against any “self-elitism” or spiritual arrogance. It’s all too easy, even for the committed evangelist, to sometimes slip towards the temptation of thinking,“I know the arguments to answer the skeptic. My presentation of the Gospel is spot-on. My tireless work for the poor makes people stop and think. I’m a disciple because I learned nearly everything there is to know about the Bible and Catechism.” In doing this, we might share the Gospel lovingly with all; yet still implicitly place ourselves on a pedestal as the evangelist.