Week 20, Sunday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

89. No area in the Church is outside the parameters of this program; nor should anyone feel exempt. The Churches of a long Christian tradition, above all, have to deal with the practical problem that many have abandoned the faith. To a lesser extent, the same problem also exists in younger Churches, especially in large cities and some heavily influenced areas of society and cultures. The great social and cultural challenges presently being created by rapidly expanding urban centers, especially in developing countries, are certainly fertile ground for the new evangelization.
Consequently, the new evangelization also concerns the younger Churches. Their work of inculturation demands continual examination so that the Gospel, which purifies and elevates culture, can be introduced into cultural settings and, in a particular way, open them to its newness. Generally speaking, all Christian communities need a new evangelization simply by being engaged in a pastoral ministry which seems increasingly difficult to exercise and which is in danger of becoming a routine matter, and thus little able to communicate its original intent. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 89)

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 34:9, Mass).

Almighty ever-living God, Whom,
taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised.
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.

How often has any of us encountered a situation similar to the following - ‘Ah great, idea (or plan or words) ... but they don’t apply to me in my circumstance. My situation is unique and you can’t possibly understand it.’ This is the point addressed by the final paragraph of chapter 2: The New Evangelization is everyone’s concern and it is everyone’s work. All areas of the Church, young and old, deal with social concerns that impact living the life of Jesus Christ in a true and authentic way. No local Church can say, ‘we’re doing just fine ... we don’t need to trouble ourselves with this new program (remember, The New Evangelization is not a program and it is imperative to avoid slipping into the program mentality). So on that note, 2 concerns are worth mentioning.
1) Since The New Evangelization is everyone’s concern, there is a danger of it being nobody’s concern. It is similar to students who read with a highlighter, highlighting the entire page. In highlighting everything, nothing is highlighted. With The New Evangelization, it is vital for each member of the Body of Christ to simply get out there and tap people on the shoulder and offer the inviting Word of Christ to them. If the parish says, ‘we’ll wait to see what the diocese wants us to do’ - if the diocese says, ‘we’ll wait to see what directives come from Rome’ then chances are very good that nothing is going to happen. So what is each person to do? What is each local Church to do? Do what the First Disciples did in the Acts of the Apostles: gather together, fast, pray, call on the Spirit and wait for the building to rock with the Spirit’s guidance and direction for action!
2) Everyone in pastoral ministry - and life in general - can attest to ‘those days,’ those days when you look back and see that it was just the same old, same old, same old. There are those days when simply meeting the demands of what hits you in the face is an accomplishment. It happens; it is called life. The danger the Instrumentum Laboris cautions is when the ‘same old’ becomes the norm, when we settle simply for the minimum. Choosing the minimal runs the risk of being incapable of doing the Spirit’s work of assisting people to encounter Jesus and supporting them in the necessary responses of daily conversion and belief that is a radical trust in Jesus’ words and deeds as the only path for life.

  • How has the Holy Spirit guided you and your parish to engage the work of The New Evangelization?

1 comment:

  1. Every one knows or has heard of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. Even non-Catholics are aware of the apparitions mostly because of the Third Secret (how much a Mother was Our Lady). However, there was another vision given to Lucie when she was living in Spain in the 1920's. She saw the scene of the Crucifixion with the Father and Holy Spirit above and Our Lady standing to the right (Maybe why John and James could not have it). Blood was flowing from Jesus left hand to the ground and blood and water were flowing from his pierced side into a Chalice. The blood and water flowing to the ground , Our Lady said, were all the graces that the Trinity willed to pour out on mankind that were being lost. The Holy Spirit has been and is speaking to the Church in many ways and through many people since that vision. Many don't know of this vision "Last Vision of Fatima" but many have experienced in their own lives, the lives of their families and friends the real possibility of those they love being lost forever to themselves and God. This is how the Holy Spirit is guiding the work of the New Evangelization. The Holy Spirit is opening some eyes to see how God sees and this love and concern on the part of those who see and understand is the necessary beginning for a New Evangelization.