Week 27, Saturday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

92. Announcing and proclaiming is not the task of any one person or a select few, but rather a gift given to every person who answers the call to faith. Transmitting the faith is not the work of one individual only, but instead, is the responsibility of every Christian and the whole Church, who in this very activity continually rediscovers her identity as a People gathered together by the Spirit to live Christ's presence among us and discover the true face of God, who is Father.
The transmission of the faith is a fundamental act of the Church, which leads Christian communities to articulate, in a strict sense, the basic works of the life of faith, namely, charity, witness, proclamation, celebration, listening and sharing. Evangelization must be perceived as the process by which the Church, moved by the Spirit, proclaims and spreads the Gospel throughout the world. Compelled by love, evangelization permeates and transforms the whole temporal order, assuming and renewing cultures. Evangelization openly proclaims the Gospel and is a call to conversion. Through catechesis and the Sacraments of Initiation, evangelization guides those who have turned to Jesus Christ, or those who have returned to the road of discipleship, incorporating the former and reinstating the latter into the Christian community. Evangelization constantly nourishes the gift of communion among the faithful through the teaching of the faith, the celebration of the sacraments and the works of charity. Evangelization is a constant stimulus to mission, which sends forth all Christ's disciples to every part of the globe to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. Through the discernment which is necessary in the new evangelization, the Church is discovering that the process of transmitting the faith needs to be re-awakened in many communities. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 3: Transmitting the Faith,” paragraphs 92)

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. (Psalm 105:8, Mass).

Almighty ever-living God,
Who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and
the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads and
to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
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.

Paragraph 92 sounds a challenge that is somewhat new to the ears of the average Catholic: “announcing and proclaiming … is a gift given to every person who answers the call to faith. Transmitting the faith is not the work of one individual only, but instead, is the responsibility of every Christian.” In Catholic Christianity, the popular approach has been to let the ‘religious professionals’ or those specifically designated as ‘missionaries’ to do this work. Furthermore, the popular perception has been that “announcing and proclaiming” are works that are done in a land far, far away from my own. Whether one approaches the question from the perspective of the Isaian texts of hope (e.g. 40:1-11) or the opening of the Marcan Gospel (1:1), “announcing and proclaiming” the glad-tidings (Isaiah) or the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark) are never one-shot activities done my a handful. While the Scriptures will testify that certain members of Body teach (e.g. Acts 2:42), all believers are engaged in the work of “announcing and proclaiming” Jesus Christ.
This work of “announcing and proclaiming” by all is grounded in the waters of Baptism and for very good reason. If you have ever had the misfortune to deal with a flooded basement or a flood on a larger scale, you know that water gets into everything! Water ‘finds’ cracks and holes that you never knew existed and now that the water has ‘revealed’ it, you are able to make the proper repairs. Similarly, where are the baptized? Everywhere. For the longest time, the popular Catholic approach to evangelization was ‘come to Church.’ Now please do not misunderstand this – coming to Church is good, in fact a necessity: a Commandment given to us by the Lord Himself for our good. What about those who have not ‘heard’ the message in the heart to come? That is where ALL the baptized need to be conscious of the mission, sounded by Jesus Himself, to go out! Like water, we are all in different place of life where all sorts of people ‘stumble into our path.’ They happen to stumble because the Lord uses each of us as an instrument to sound the word of Jesus to bring people home to Him.

  • As more and more are 'hearing' the language of The New Evangelization and each person's responsibility, many are voicing concern, "I can't do that! Faith is a private matter and whatever a person decides is OK." How do we care for our brothers and sisters who have lost their connection with and to Jesus?

1 comment:

  1. The same thing Jesus did when humanity lost its connection with the Creator and Father of us all. In this breech between humanity and God, we find Jesus and Him crucified. He asks us to take up our cross and follow Him wherever He goes. In today's world this is a radical way of living but what a witness to those who have lost their way!!