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(Part 154)


September 27, 2015

Today’s readings:
Numbers 11:25-29
Mark 9:38-48

The New Evangelization is a call to reach the 99 lost sheep. How can such a massive task be accomplished? It is when our whole Church sees and accepts and lives out the reality that our Church is missionary, and the most important task is to proclaim Christ and his salvation.

This cannot be done just by a few individuals or groups or parishes. For one, they can only reach so many. For another, they will exhaust themselves. It was the same with Moses. He could not handle the massive work of caring for God’s people and so God had him share the work with 70 elders. “Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, he bestowed it on the seventy elders” (Nm 11:25b). For the work of the New Evangelization, we need not just 70 elders but all the parishes and their workers to be involved!

There is another problem. The Lord wants a massive work done, and so raises individuals and groups that initiate movements and communities. However, their vision can become limited. They can become self-referential. They can keep just for themselves the spirit intended to be shared with many others. They can be selfish with what the Lord has given them. They can end up opposing those others who serve Christ but whom they consider to be infringing on their territory. “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” (Mk 9:38).

What is the proper posture in and for the New Evangelization?

One, in order to do a massive work, let more and more participate in the work. Joshua wanted Moses to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying because they were not among the 70 elders. What did Moses say? “If only all the people of the Lord were prophets! If only the Lord would bestow his spirit on them!” (Nm 11:29b). We should not restrict the work to a select few, but instead desire that so many more participate in the work. Remember: the harvest is rich but the laborers are few. So Jesus told us to pray for more laborers. Why then would we want to act otherwise?

Two, be not so self-referential that you end up opposing those who do similar work in the name of Christ. “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” (Mk 9:39). The more people and groups serving Christ the better!

Three, there is ultimately only one work--to proclaim Christ, and only one enemy--the evil one. Thus “whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9:40). We are one Church, doing the one mission. Granted that there are many expressions, but there should be no selfishness, envy, infighting, non-cooperation, etc. Rather there should be sharing and collaboration. We are to use our gifts and resources to help expand the evangelistic network of God’s people.

This gives us a deeper insight into our very first Core Value, which is “Centered on Christ.” Everything we are and do is about Christ. We seek to proclaim him and not ourselves. We strive to promote his Kingdom and not ours. We serve his interests and not our own.

Now put this together with our second Core Value which is “Evangelistic and Missionary,” and our seventh Core Value which is “Being a Servant to the Church,” and you have our response to the call to the New Evangelization, which is LCSC. With LCSC we share what the Lord has given us in over 3 decades and help our Church to do the effective methodologies that we have used all this time.

As we help many other Catholics and parishes do an effective work of evangelization and mission, without reference to self, in total self-giving, we will surely not go unrewarded. As we share of ourselves to all our other brethren in Christ who make up the Church, we will surely be blessed. “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” (Mk 9:41). We share not just a cup of water with our Church, but everything that we are and have been and will be.

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