Week 14, Monday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

37. The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself. She is "the community of believers, the community of hope lived and communicated, the community of brotherly love, and she needs to listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, to the new commandment of love. She is the People of God immersed in the world and often tempted by idols, and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the 'mighty works of God', which converted her to the Lord; she always needs to be called together afresh by him and reunited. In brief, this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized if she wishes to retain freshness, vigor and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel." The Second Vatican Council has strongly taken up the subject of the Church who is evangelized by constant conversion and renewal in order to evangelize the world with credibility. In this regard, the words of Pope Paul VI still have meaning today as he reaffirms the priority of evangelization and reminds the faithful: "It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought: men can gain salvation also in other ways, by God's mercy, even though we do not preach the Gospel to them; but as for us, can we gain salvation if through negligence or fear or shame — what St. Paul called 'blushing for the Gospel' — or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it?" More than one response has proposed that this subject be specifically treated during the synod's deliberations.
38. Since her origin, the Church has had to deal with similar difficulties as well as the sinfulness of her members. The story of the disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35) is emblematic of the fact that knowledge of Christ can fail. The two disciples from Emmaus speak of a dead man (cf. Lk 24:21-24) and relate their disappointment and hopelessness. These disciples demonstrate the possibility for the Church in every age to be the bearer of a message that does not give life, but stops short in the death of the Christ who is proclaimed, in the announcers themselves, and, consequently, in the recipients of the announcement also. St. John the Evangelist's account of the Apostles who were fishing (cf. Jn 21.1 to 14) describes a similar experience. Apart from Christ, the disciples' efforts are fruitless. Just as for the disciples of Emmaus, only when the Risen Christ manifests himself to them does their trust and the joy of proclaiming return as the fruits of the work of evangelization. Only in strongly attaching himself to Christ once again, is St. Peter, who had been called "fisher of men" (Lk 5:10), able to successfully cast the nets, trusting in the Lord's words. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 1,” paragraph 37 and 38)

The Lord is gracious and merciful. (Psalm 145:8, Mass).

O God, Who in the abasement of Your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill Your faithful with holy joy,
for on those You have rescued from slavery to sin
You bestow eternal gladness.
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.

Early on in the seminary, one of our professors gave us a wise saying, “Nemo dat quod non habet (One cannot give what one does not have).” It is a quip worth considering in this section of the Instrumentum Laboris that examines “Evangelization and Church Renewal.” While the Lineamenta examined 6 sectors of contemporary life that pose challenges to Gospel proclamation and conversion of heart, the Church Herself must also look at ways in which Jesus Christ has been preached and ask, ‘have we done, with the Lord’s gratuitous grace, our best?’ As a Divinely founded community, the Church is admittedly composed of sinners – and as such, we kneel in need of the Father’s mercy. In referencing the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and Peter’s post-Easter confession of Faith, the Instrumentum Laboris clearly echoes the necessary Christian message of hope and renewal for the lives of all.

  • As we consider the evangelizing and renewal of the Church, what responsibility do I as an individual believer have in these concerns?
  • How has my living of the Gospel contributed or stifled the evangelizing and renewal of the Church?

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