Week 18, Tuesday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

83. In recounting these obvious hope-filled signs, the responses to the Lineamenta indicate that the path taken is a slow but effective work of reforming our manner of “being Church” among people and avoiding the pitfalls of sectarianism and a “civil religion,” all the while retaining the form of a missionary Church. In other words, the Church must not lose her image of being a Church near to people and their families. Even where the Church is in the minority or the victim of discrimination, she must not lose her prerogative of remaining close to people in their everyday lives and, in that very place, announcing the life-giving message of the Gospel.
Pope John Paul II stated that the “New Evangelization” means to remake the Christian fabric of human society and the fabric of the Christian communities. It means assisting the Church to continue to be present “in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters,” so as to animate their lives and direct them to the Kingdom that is to come. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 83)

The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory. (Psalm 102:17, Mass).

Draw near to your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in you
as their Creator and guide,
you may restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored.
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. Amen.

In continuing the reflections on “Parish Transformation and the New Evangelization,” paragraph 83 speaks of caution, challenge and communion. In acknowledging the slow work of evangelization, there can be a tendency to loose focus. For this reason, the document cautions that in the efforts to promote the New Evangelization, the Church can never loose sight of the missionary mandate. Jesus Christ must be preached and lived at all times. Being clear that we are about the preaching and living of a Person Who desires an encounter and ongoing communing with us, this will be the hermeneutic that prevents Catholic Christian living from falling prey to becoming a “civil religion” that amounts to nothing more than a culturally or customarily nice thing to do on occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Baptisms, First Communions, Weddings and Funerals. Many involved in pastoral ministry know when the reality of ‘cultural Catholicism.’ The Instrumentum Laboris views this approach to the Church as an opportunity to invite and to call back into the fold, those who - for whatever reason - have grown lukewarm or cold to the practice of the Faith. This is challenging for those in ministry as it is for those who have left. In both cases, there is often the need to “remake,” re-tool or re-express practices that while still Catholic on the surface, have lost their connection to the Person, Jesus Christ. Preaching and living Him in such a way that we permit ourselves to connect with Him as Person is at the core of responding to His declaration, “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”

  • How does your parish and/or diocese keep life’s moments such as Weddings and Funerals, to name only 2, centered in and on Jesus Christ?

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