Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's New?

Have you ever heard someone say, I’ve heard it all? They may not mean it literally, but they are trying to say they have heard everything there is to say about a certain subject, and they have no need of hearing any more.

Sometimes we think that we have heard it all – or at least enough. We just don’t want to be bothered with any new input on a decision we have already made to our satisfaction.

That is not an unreasonable thing to say, or think, by any means – unless it is about God’s revelation and salvation in Jesus Christ, in which case one might reasonably admit not to have heard it all.

This past week, Archbishop Wuerl sent us Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision – a Pastoral Letter on the New Evangelization. Inviting us to participate in the New Evangelization espoused by Pope John Paul II and furthered by Pope Benedict XVI, he is advocating not a new program, but a new way of interacting with the Good News, and with the world.

In a recent homily, Pope Benedict pointed out that this evangelization is "new" not in its content but in its inner thrust, open to the grace of the Holy Spirit which constitutes the force of the new law of the Gospel that always renews the Church; "new" in ways that correspond with the power of the Holy Spirit and which are suited to the times and situations; "new" because of being necessary even in countries that have already received the proclamation of the Gospel.

Archbishop Wuerl asks that Catholics reflect together on how we can renew the Gospel message and Christ’s love, first in our own hearts and then, having grown in our faith, by inviting others to hear once again, maybe all over again for the first time, the exciting invitation of Jesus: “Come, follow me.”

He continues, This is a fresh moment for the Church because it is a new moment in our world. In an increasingly secular and materialistic society, what gives true and lasting meaning and joy is Christ and his message. From the renewal of faith by individual Catholics to their invitation to others to share in the joy and excitement of Christ and His Church comes the possibility of a world transformed.

The Pope admitted that the Church needs, and intends, a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of the faith has already resonated and where Churches with an ancient foundation exist but are experiencing the progressive secularization of society and a sort of "eclipse of the sense of God", which pose a challenge to finding appropriate (ways) to propose anew the perennial truth of Christ's Gospel.

If the Church can recognize that her most pressing need is to preach the Gospel to the lands, to the countries, to the cultures that were founded upon that very Gospel, perhaps you and I can allow the possibility that there is something that we need to engage more deeply, and share more broadly. The full text of the Archbishop’s letter is available online at our Archdiocesan web site, www.adw.org. Please take a chance that you might not have heard it all – and read it!

Monsignor Smith

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