THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
FAITH AND WORKS
December 10, 2012
Today’s gospel: Luke 5:17-26
The New Evangelization is a return to the basics, to what
is of most fundamental importance to the faith, to the methodology
of evangelization from the time of Pentecost. Faith is about
salvation in Jesus.
Faith is also about works.
Jesus came to bring glad tidings to the poor. Faith without
works is dead, but works without faith leads to such deviations
from authentic faith as acceptance of the myth that overpopulation
is the cause of poverty and so there has to be population
control, or as acceptance of contraception rather than looking
to God’s command to be fertile and multiply. Concern
over poverty, without the dictates of authentic faith, leads
to demanding abortion and same-sex marriage as universal human
This has been the classic
dichotomy between pro-life and pro-social justice Catholics,
especially in the USA, but increasingly throughout the world.
Pro-poor and pro-social justice Catholics have gone to the
point of opposing authentic Catholic teaching and the Magisterium
of the Church. We see bishops, priests, nuns and lay leaders
accepting and even advocating for contraception and supporting
and electing pro-abortion or pro-RH politicians.
The truth is that if you are
a true Christian, you ought to have a preferential option
for the poor. There is no dichotomy. However, there are many
Christians whose hearts bleed for the poor, but in being so,
have deviated from authentic faith. Faith in fact is the foundation
for social action.
We draw an essential principle
from today’s gospel reading. People brought a paralyzed
man to Jesus to be healed. What Jesus did was instead to forgive
him his sins (Lk 5:20). Later Jesus also healed him physically.
People saw the best thing
for the man was to be healed of his physical condition. Jesus
knew better. He needed to be healed of his spiritual condition.
First things first, then everything else will follow. Those
whose spirits are truly touched by Jesus would normally go
on to be good and to do good. However, those who receive physical
healing from God (or wealth, position, etc.), if the foundation
of faith is not strong, often later on forget God’s
goodness and go on to live lives apart from Him, or at least
not fully under His dominion.
The social justice Catholics
have gone on to really veer away from the faith. Catholic
nuns work with the poor but advocate elements of the culture
of death and support a pro-abortion President such as Obama.
Catholic lay leaders build communities among the poor but
remove Christ from the center of the work in order to receive
more funds, including from corporations providing contraceptives.
Catholic legislators profess concern for tribal communities
and marginalized peoples but support reproductive health bills.
The New Evangelization calls us to have the proper priorities.
To build the Church of the Poor is always a part of that.
But to do so by deviating from the authentic culture of life
is to miss the essence of evangelization.
Jesus came so that we might
have forgiveness of sin, and thus be restored to the Father.
When that has happened, then we can go on and bring that love
of God to others, especially to the poor. And what we know
is that what we bring is authentic faith, faith that not only
heals physically but more especially spiritually, faith by
which not only does one’s life on earth become better
but that one will actually make it to heaven, where healing
May the true work of the New
Evangelization bring astonishment and awe to the world, and
lead everyone to glorify God.