Week 13, Saturday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

DAILY SEQUENTIAL EXCERPTS from The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith – Instrumentum Laboris:

33. Every person has the right to hear the Gospel of God to humanity, which is Jesus Christ. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, humanity today needs to hear the words of Jesus: "If you knew the gift of God" (Jn 4:10), because these words elicit the deep desire for salvation which lies in everyone: "Lord, give me this water, that I may not thirst" (Jn 4:15). This right of every person to hear the Gospel is clearly stated by St. Paul. Tireless in his preaching, he looks upon his work of proclaiming the Gospel as a duty, because he understood its universal significance: "For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16). Every man and woman should be able to say, like him, that "Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Eph 5:2). Furthermore, every man and women should be able to feel drawn into an intimate and transforming relationship which the proclamation of the Gospel creates between us and Christ: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20). To give others the possibility of having a similar experience requires that someone be sent to proclaim it: "How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?" (Rm 10:14 which repeats Is 52:1).
34. We can therefore understand how every one of the Church's actions has an essential evangelizing character and must never be separated from the duty to help others encounter Christ in faith, the primary goal of evangelization. If as a Church, "we bring people only knowledge, ability or technical skill and tools, we bring them too little." The original reason for evangelization is the love of Christ which seeks to bring everyone to eternal salvation. The one desire of genuine evangelizers is to give freely what they have freely received: "From the very origins of the Church the disciples of Christ strove to convert men to faith in Christ as the Lord; not, however, by the use of coercion or of devices unworthy of the Gospel, but by the power, above all, of the word of God." (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 1,” paragraph 33 and 34)

The Lord speaks of peace to his people. (Psalm 85:9, Mass).

O God, Who through the grace of adoption
chose us to be children of light,
grant, we pray,
that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error
but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

Under the subtitle, “The Duty to Evangelize,” today’s selections from the Instrumentum Laboris address a fundamental right that every human person has to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Obviously this act of “hearing” is more than just the words of the Gospel ‘hitting the ear.’ Once again, we are reminded that the Gospel is a Person, Jesus Christ. This “hearing” is actually an encounter whereby the ‘words of the Word’ take root in a person’s heart in such a way that leads to daily conversion of heart, mind and body. It logically flows that if “hearing” the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a right for all people, somebody must proclaim and hand-on this Person. The proclamation and handing-on of Jesus is done, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, in a very human way.

Another critical insight of today’s selection is a quote from the Holy Father’s 2006 homily in Munich: “If as a Church, "we bring people only knowledge, ability or technical skill and tools, we bring them too little.” Once again, the focus of the New Evangelization is most clear: a Person, Jesus Christ Who offers an encounter that brings communion with Him.

  • Catholic Christianity has often been pegged as ‘pray, pay and obey.’ What can be done to correct this perception?
  • Is your parish engaged in ‘handing-on’ the Person, Jesus - OR - does your parish merely provide “knowledge, ability or technical skill and tools” under the guise of Catholic education?

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