In keeping with yesterday’s feast of St. Luke, I’d like to offer a few thoughts regarding the New Evangelization. If you pay any attention to the statements and teachings of the Pope’s, one of the common themes of both the late Pope John Paul II and our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is that of a New Evangelization.
Recently, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington wrote a pastoral letter on the New Evangelization. It is very well written, and helpful in understanding what this New Evangelization means, and offers practical means of implementation. Read Here.
Fundamentally, the New Evangelization is a call to every believer to come to a deeper awareness of the personal relationship they are called to in the person of Jesus Christ. Secondly, flowing from this vibrant relationship with Christ, each member of the Church is to find ways to speak of the significance of this relationship with Christ to others. Each of us are called to “proclaim the Good News” of Jesus Christ and the salvation He won for us to others.
The Psalm from yesterday’s feast says it well: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. (Psalm 145) I believe this is what the renewal of the Church requires of us. Each of us are called by Christ to be His friends. Each of us are called to nurture this relationship with Christ, and allow everything in our life to flow from this source of relationship and redemption.
The Gospel yesterday also has a basic insight into the “place” of beginning the New Evangelization. Into whatever house you enter, say “Peace to this household.” (Luke 10) Jesus gives us the model of the New Evangelization. He called individuals one by one; he entered into personal relationships. He proclaimed the love of God to individuals, in homes, communities, territories, and it continued to spread from their from those whom He encountered.
Today, we celebrate the feast of the North American Martyrs; Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, and their companions. These were some of the early missionaries, evangelists if you will, who gave their lives proclaiming Jesus Christ to the Native Americans and early settlers of our country. Their love for Christ was so strong, they left their homelands to proclaim His Good News so that others may share not only in their joy, but in the salvation won for us by Christ.
Let us follow the example of the many saints and martyrs. Let us heed the words of our Holy Fathers. Let us grow in our love for Christ, and proclaim Him afresh and anew to the world.