THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
PUTTING IN MORE THAN ALL THE REST
November 26, 2012
Today’s gospel: Luke 21:1-4
One thing that the New Evangelization will demand is a greater
commitment to Christ and to mission. The world is now a radically
different place, pagan once again, but also very much anti-Christian.
Persecution will intensify. Martyrdom lurks at the door. The
New Evangelization is not just an emotional high about something
“new” and exciting, but a down-to-earth realism
about what it takes to bear abundant fruit.
New Evangelization requires total surrender to God. Now even
for those who have met and are striving to live Christ, the
last thing to surrender is often money and possessions. Many
who have undergone personal conversion and are into ongoing
transformation still need the conversion of the pocketbook.
This is a very tough nut to crack. Indeed mammon competes
mightily with God in securing the allegiance of people.
so it is that we look at the poor widow and her very small
contribution compared to what wealthy people put into the
treasury (Lk 21:1-2). Now the world, and many church officials,
favor those who are big contributors. But not Jesus. He rather
extolled the poor widow. “I tell you truly, this poor
widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have
all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from
her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Lk
21:3-4). Being poor, having only two small coins, no longer
having any money for food, willing to go hungry, she put in
more than all the rest because she offered her whole self
for God--heart, body and soul.
kind of total commitment will be required by the New Evangelization?
Total commitment means a detachment from material things.
Total commitment means a humility borne out of non-dependence
on self or on worldly resources. Total commitment means a
deep trust in the providence of God and His provision for
the needs of His people.
is where the poor, by the state of their economic and social
situation, have a natural advantage over the rich. The rich
look to their wealth while the poor look to God. The rich
are proud of their social standing while the poor, having
no social standing at all, can only look to God’s consolation.
The rich, like the rich official who wanted eternal life but
could not detach from his wealth (Lk 18:18-23), are held back
from following Jesus even more closely, while the poor, with
nothing to hold them back, would more readily follow Jesus
all the way.
is why Jesus came into the world poor, and left the world
poor. He was born in a borrowed manger and he was buried in
a borrowed tomb. He clearly told his would-be followers, who
could have followed him on a romantic notion of adventure
or glory, that he walked the path of the cross. He told them
to renounce all their possessions (Lk 14:33). He told them
to be detached even from family.
How does God bring us to the point of total commitment and
surrender? Aside from, or as a part of, meeting and living
Christ, there is a need for suffering and pain that purify
and draw us closer to God.
the very poor like the widow, this is a natural situation.
They suffer every day. This is why the poor are blessed, as
the kingdom of God is theirs (Lk 6:20b). However, the poor
still need to see the blessedness of their situation of total
dependence on God and have their own conversion of heart.
the wealthy, it will be difficult. Jesus himself says that
it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of
heaven (Mt 19:23). Perhaps God will intervene. Many self-sufficient
individuals have undergone conversion when they became sick
to the point of death, or lost all their money, or their marriage
and family broke up.
everyone else, especially for those who somehow have a relationship
with Jesus, there will be enough trials and pains in life.
What they will need to learn is how, rather than turning away
from God during such times, they in fact enter more deeply
into a relationship of trust in Him. They need to see how
God is favoring His children with discipline (Heb 12:6).
So where are you now? Considering that money is often the
last to be surrendered, consider then, as some measure of
your conversion, how you give money back to God (parish and
community). Do you give at least a tithe? Will you give only
from your surplus wealth or are you willing to give from your
whole livelihood, even from your poverty?
more importantly, do you offer your whole self? Do you offer
everything that you are and have for the glory of God and
the work of His kingdom on earth? Does your passion for God
and His work transcend and supersede all your other personal
preferences, priorities, agenda?
is the commitment needed for the work of the New Evangelization.
P.S. While reading the above you may find yourself mentally
listing down many reasons why what I have said is not what
is demanded of us by Jesus, like: Am I expected to give all
my money away? How will I provide for my family? Am I supposed
to detach from my loved ones? Am I to rejoice in suffering
and pain? Am I to do nothing else but serve the Kingdom? Am
I to let go of all personal desires and priorities?
is the wrong knee-jerk approach. You are already setting up
a barrier of defense. You are already preparing yourself to
reject the hard teaching. What you need to do is to accept
what is said (in humility), resolve to follow Jesus whatever
it takes (in total trust), and then bring everything into
prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and wisdom.
Hopefully your questions will be answered.
does say seemingly unacceptable things, such as hating family
members if one is to be a disciple (Lk 14:26), or selling
all you have and giving it to the poor in order to have treasure
in heaven (Lk 18:22). You can immediately reject it as impractical
or even foolish, or you can open yourself up to the mysteries
of the Kingdom.