From Christ the Evangelizer to the Evangelizing Church
This first number of Evangelii Nuntiandi tells us about Jesus, the first and model evangelizer. His whole mission was to make known the reign of God His Father. If we were to ask what this reign of God consists of, Jesus would reply, “It is the new covenant that God has struck with his people. It includes all mankind now, not just one nation.” He established it by His death and resurrection.
Jesus as man learned about the kingdom or reign of God from the Old Testament, which He learned from His mother. The theme of a new and everlasting covenant of God with His people recurs in the prophesies of Ezekiel and Isaiah (Ez 16:30; 37:26; Is 61:8; 42:6). Jesus knew Himself as the messenger of this new covenant of God with His people. In fact, He recognized that He Himself was the covenant of God with His people (cf. Is 42:6), for in the perfect union of His divine and human natures (hypostatic union), God and man are perfectly reconciled and united.
Jesus wishes to pass this reconciliation and union on to His fellow human beings by the new union with Him that comes to us through Baptism and the other sacraments.
The new covenant establishes the reign or kingdom of God on earth. But it can do so only to the degree that men accept the new covenant and try to live by it. This can only happen in so far as people are given the grace to repent of their sins and to sincerely desire to know and do God’s will (cf. Acts 2:37). Hence, Jesus began His evangelizing ministry with the preaching of repentance (Mk 1:14f).
But no. 6 says that Jesus’ evangelizing work began long before His public life: “Every aspect of the mystery of Christ is a part of his evangelizing activity.” As man, Jesus knew that His efforts at evangelization, humanly speaking, would largely fail. It would be up to others, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make Him and the new covenant known to mankind (cf. Jn 1:49; Mk 16:15). He knew too that there would be those who would write about Him for future generations (cf. Lk 1:1-4). Thus even the parts of His life before His public ministry would be preached all over the world and be part of the teaching and doctrine of His Church. This would include all the facts of His early life, and the persons of that part of His life, especially His Mother and foster father, St. Joseph.
So we see Jesus teaching already before His public life. The few words of His that we have from that period of His life, namely His words to His Mother when she and St. Joseph find Him in the temple at twelve years of age, are words of teaching about His Father’s kingdom and His role in it (cf. Lk 2:49). May we always receive His words of teaching as Mary, His Mother, did!