THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Metanoia is repentance, and repentance is a change
in the way we live our lives, in fact, it is an overturning
of values, priorities, ideals, directions. Because all of
us grow up in a world that is antagonistic to the faith, and
are being brainwashed as to what are acceptable values, the
overturning often has to be radical.
even nations’ laws have been changed to accommodate
anti-life, anti-family, homosexualist values (not that there
is anything of value in these). Abortion, divorce and same-sex
marriage are not only legalized, but are being foisted on
societies to be accepted as normal. Man has turned away from
God. Jesus came in order to bring humankind back to God. In
Jesus, once again we are confronted with the truth of our
existence and given the grace to live this out. Thus, “while
the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through
Jesus Christ.” (Jn 1:17).
Jesus’ work is about such a radical change or overturning.
Captives are liberated, prisoners are released, those who
mourn are comforted, ashes of mourning are replaced by a diadem
and oil of gladness (Is 61:1c,2b-3a). Such is also what Mary
proclaimed in her canticle. The lowly are lifted up, the hungry
filled with good things, the powerful dethroned, the rich
impoverished (Lk 1:52-53).
is “good news to the afflicted” (Is 61:1b). It
is dire warning to the high and mighty, to the oppressors
of the poor.
depends on this response to God’s mercy and grace. If
we repent and turn our lives to Jesus, then radical change
will indeed come, not only to us personally, but to societies
and nations. Today the world is in societal and spiritual
ruin, urban areas are in decay, Judeo-Christian morality through
the generations has been decimated. With repentance, there
will be a restoration of God’s intent. “They shall
rebuild the ancient ruins, the former wastes they shall raise
up and restore the desolate cities, devastations of generation
upon generation.” (Is 61:4).
repentance results in great overturning of our situations
Though we live in a valley of tears, we can “rejoice
always.” (1 Thes 5:16). No matter what our circumstances
in life are, we know we are saved. And our consolation
is in the Lord Himself.
Though we will continue to face problems and even deprivation,
we can “in all circumstances give thanks”
(1 Thes 5:18a). We look at the many blessings that we
receive from day to day, and live in hope.
we are weak human flesh, by the grace of God and the strength
from the Holy Spirit, we can “refrain from every
kind of evil.” (1 Thes 5:22). We can be holy and
strive for Christian perfection (1 Thes 5:23).
did the most radical act ever. “And the Word became
flesh” (Jn 1:14a). Then Jesus died for our sins. By
this act we are saved. But we need to respond. The response
is metanoia. This happens as people meet
Christ and live Christ. This in
turn happens as others share Christ. This
is the work of evangelization. God sent Jesus, Jesus sent
His Spirit, and now Jesus through the Holy Spirit sends us
to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. “The
spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed
me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to
bind up the brokenhearted” (Is 61:1a-b). This was Jesus’
mission; this is still Jesus’ mission done through us.
Christ should bring this radical change in us. Living Christ
is a radical overturning of how we have lived our lives. This
is the work of the New Evangelization.