THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
SWEET AND SOUR FOOD
In John’s vision, he is told to take the scroll from
the angel and eat it (Rev 10:8-9a). The angel tells him, “Take
and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your
mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.” (Rev 10:9b).
The NAB footnote says, “The small scroll was sweet because
it predicted the final victory of God’s people; it was
sour because it also announced their sufferings.”
like sweet and sour food. There is a place for just sweet
or for just sour, but sweet and sour together is tops. This
actually is the Christian life. It has its victories and defeats,
ups and downs, joys and griefs, exultations and disappointments,
ecstasies and pains, comforts and afflictions. People often
only want the so-called good (the former of the pair). But
there is much to be said about the seemingly bad (the latter
of the pair). Too much of the former may even cause us to
neglect and move away from God. Much of the latter can draw
us deeper and closer to God. Indeed, the way of Jesus, the
authentic gospel, is the way of the cross.
In the New Evangelization this understanding will be crucial.
As it is now, Catholics are being raised in the church of
“nice.” Be politically correct, do not offend,
do not discriminate, do not judge, just be nice to everyone.
Do not tell a practicing homosexual that what he is doing
is wrong. Make active gay groups welcome in your parish. Elect
officials who are into social action even at the expense of
being pro-life. Do not preach a homily that will cause discomfort
result? The authentic gospel, reflected in the teaching of
the Church, has been obscured. People are lost, unable to
distinguish between right and wrong. Parishes are infected
with dissidents. Catholic schools are lost to secularism.
The faith has been severely weakened.
If the New Evangelization is to succeed, what needs to be
done? There has to be radical action. This is what Jesus did.
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those
who were selling things, saying to them ‘It is written,
“My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made
it a den of thieves.”’” (Lk 19:45-46). The
dioceses, parishes, chanceries, seminaries, congregations,
schools, ecclesial movements, etc., of the Church need to
be purified. They need to be brought back to their original
mission, that of proclaiming Christ and fostering a deep relationship
with God. They cannot be dens of thieves who rob God of authentic
worship and rob His Church of their true mission. They cannot
house dissidents who subvert the Church from within.
is this done? “And every day he was teaching in the
temple area.” (Lk 19:47a). It is through solid authentic
Catholic teaching, faithful to the Magisterium of
the Church. It is through bold preaching of the authentic
gospel, in Mass homilies, congresses, and other Church formation
leaders, both cleric and lay, need to have the conviction
about the truth of God’s word, about how effective it
is in cutting into a person’s very being, about its
convincing power, about the grace that it brings.
is precious. “Teaching from your lips is more precious
to me than heaps of silver and gold.” (Ps 119:72).
brings wisdom. “Your decrees are my delight; they
are my counselors.” (Ps 119:24).
brings joy. “I find joy in the way of your decrees
more than in all riches.” (Ps 119:14).
is what we need to live life well and to make it to heaven.
“Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are
the joy of my heart.” (Ps 119:111).
Thus we must earnestly desire the truth of God’s word
and God’s law. We must desire to consume it, just like
the scroll of John, so that it becomes an integral part of
us. “I sigh with open mouth, yearning for your commands.”
(Ps 119:131). When we do, we will not be disappointed. It
will be great food for our soul. “How sweet to my tongue
is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” (Ps
Now if bishops, priests, nuns and lay leaders do that, given
the situation of the Church today, and given the opposition
of Satan who does not want a strong Church, we can expect
to be persecuted. Oftentimes by the enemy within. “The
chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people,
meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death” (Lk 19:47b).
With sweet will come the sour.
us ensure that we ourselves truly know Jesus and are trying
to live his life. Then, as we resolve to be agents of the
New Evangelization, let us encourage others, especially the
hierarchy and top lay leaders, to speak the truth of the gospel,
boldly and without equivocation. Let us close ranks among
true Catholics who are trying to live Christ and to share
Christ, those who resolve to stand in Jesus’ place in
order to do his work. Then perhaps our enemies can “find
no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people
were hanging on his words.” (Lk 19:48). Jesus words
are the words we speak. They are words of life, peace and
Here now is the angel with the scroll before you. How do you
we truly understand the call of the New Evangelization, especially
in this Year of Faith, if we are willing to take the good
with the “bad” as we serve Christ, if we have
committed to live Christ, then I pray that your response will
be that of John: “I took the small scroll from the angel’s
hand and swallowed it.” (Rev 10:10a). It will be the
best thing you could ever do in your walk with Jesus. But
you have been forewarned: the path of Jesus is the path of
the cross. “In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but
when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.” (Rev 10:10b).
into the whole world and be God’s prophet, blessed but
persecuted. Go and “prophesy again about many peoples,
nations, tongues, and kings.” (Rev 10:11).