THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE LOST SHEEP - 2
Today’s gospel: Luke 15:1-10
Evangelization is all about searching for the lost sheep.
God wants to bring back the lost, and God loves the repentant
sinner. All people in the world are God’s children.
Jesus came into the world in order to save all humankind.
God would want to have all of His children be with Him forever
in heaven. Unfortunately many in the world have turned away
from God. This is especially true during these times. Thus
there is a call to the New Evangelization.
Catholic Church is the one true church founded by Jesus and
established upon the rock that is Peter. From the first pope
Peter to today’s Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, there has
been a continuous line of 265 popes. The Church’s mission
in the world remains the same, from the time she was founded
on the day of Pentecost, and it is to proclaim Christ to all.
This is her missio ad gentes.
gospel is about finding and bringing back those lost sheep.
But let me adopt this gospel to a narrower focus. The hundred
sheep are in the sheepfold with a shepherd. The sheepfold
is the Church. The New Evangelization is about strengthening
the Catholic Church, so that it can effectively do its worldwide
there were 99 righteous Catholics and only 1 lost, then the
Church would be a most powerful force for evangelization and
mission. However, the sad truth is shockingly different.
refer you to excerpts from my new book, “The New Evangelization--A
Work of the Divine Family.”
We are familiar with the parable of the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-7).
A man lost one sheep and so left the 99 in the desert to look
for the one. Finding it, he rejoices and celebrates with a
party. Jesus then says that “there will be more joy
in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine
righteous people who have no need of repentance.” This
is followed by the parable of the lost coin (Lk 15:8-10).
When the woman finds the lost coin, she throws a party. Jesus
then says “there will be rejoicing among the angels
of God over one sinner who repents.”
these parables we see the important point: God is concerned
about the lost and will go all out to bring that person back.
Further, there will be great rejoicing in heaven whenever
that lost person is found and brought back.
But how wonderful it would be if there were indeed 99 righteous
people who have no need of repentance and only one sinner
who needs to repent (Lk 15:7). God would still search for
that one who is lost, and the angels of God in heaven will
still rejoice over his repentance, but the fact that only
1% would be lost and in need of repentance would be cause
for the greatest rejoicing.
that is not the case. In fact, it is the reverse! Of all so-called
Christians in the world (over 2 billion of them), perhaps
only 1% are true Christians, in the full sense of the word,
that is, who are living Christ, and 99% are in need of repentance.
Though of course all are sinners falling short of the glory
of God, the 1% may be said to be in right relationship with
God, the way God intends it to be.
there are no statistics to support this (an in-depth study
or survey, if that is possible, would have to be undertaken),
it would not be far from the truth to view the situation of
Christians today as follows:
nominal and secular, many of them in serious sin. They
do not live out their professed faith. They are living
in the world and outside the life of the Church. They
are not Christians at all, except in name.
fairly good people, but their faith is something separate
from their secular lives. They have compartmentalized
their life as to spiritual and secular. Catholics may
go to Mass every now and then, but the rest of the week
are doing things that may not be pleasing to God.
regular churchgoers, but still live according to their
own personal priorities, agenda and desires. They do not
know of nor live out the two greatest commandments (which
sum up the whole prophets and the law). They have not
turned their lives over completely to Jesus for him to
run as he pleases.
good Christians, basically transformed in Christ, but
are not actively striving for holiness, living out discipleship,
or doing evangelization. As such, they still fall short
of the fullness of what it means to be a true Christian.
true Christians who have no need for repentance (again,
everyone is a sinner and still needs to repent, even of
venial sin). Their lives belong to Jesus. They live righteous
such a situation, there actually is grieving among the angels
of God in heaven! Even among so-called Christians, the lost
(not having found the fullness of life in Christ) are not
only 1% but are the 99%!
New Evangelization is critical! It is about seeking the one
lost sheep that has strayed from the sheepfold. It is also
about seeking the 99, even as these are already within the
sheepfold. It is actually re-evangelization. It is going after
those who are just nominally Christian and have lost the way.
It is bringing them back to the sheepfold, the Church of which
they should rightfully be a part. Evangelization is for pagans,
and the New Evangelization is for baptized pagans.
New Evangelization is not just about those Christians who
can be considered pagans, that is, who have no place at all
for Jesus in their lives. It is about those who are not living
out the fullness of their calling as Christ’s followers.
It is not only about those who commit sin, but also about
those who omit the fullness of grace. It is not only about
those who have gone astray and veered away from the right
path, but also for those who are still walking along the right
path, but not walking fast enough!
New Evangelization is not only about expanding the sheepfold,
but cleaning it up. It is about realizing that the enemy is
not only out there, but also already within. It is not just
about maintaining the life of the sheep, but ensuring that
the sheep are healthy and strong.
Where are you in the different groups above? Lest someone
accuse me of being “holier-than-thou,” I am a
sinner who is still a long way to holiness unto the Lord.
In fact, when more is given, more is expected.
Catholic Church has sounded the call to the New Evangelization.
Much is expected (see From the SG article yesterday). Being
in CFC-FFL does not mean we are already there, secure in the
sheepfold. In reality, we fall far short of what God expects
read my new book, “The New Evangelization--A Work of
the Divine Family.” I think you will find it very challenging.
More importantly, I pray that this book will help prepare
Catholics for this exciting time in the life of the Church
and the world.