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(Part 229)


December 9, 2017
Today’s gospel: Matthew 9:35-10:8

Today’s gospel reading gives us ten basic elements that characterize the New Evangelization.

First, the New Evangelization is necessitated by the dire condition in the life of the world today, where we are being overwhelmed by a tsunami of evil. Many of God’s people are lost. “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (v.9:36). Indeed, 99 of the 100 are the lost sheep.

Second, the New Evangelization aims to reach lapsed, nominal or non-practicing Catholics. “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v.10:5b-6). Many Catholics are today’s baptized pagans. Our Church is the one true Church, but we need renewal before we can effectively reach out to other Christians and then pagans.

Third, the New Evangelization is intended to be rapid, massive and worldwide, which is the only way of reaching the 99 lost sheep. “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages” (v.9:35a). We are to bring the gospel to all towns and nations. We are to go to the grassroots at the peripheries, to the very ends of the earth.

Fourth, the New Evangelization has a particular focus on the initial proclamation of the gospel, which is the missing first step in evangelization. The workers are to go about “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” (v.9:35c). Our Church has much to offer, but many lay Catholics are simply not there to partake of this richness. The initial proclamation of the gospel is intended for Catholics to meet Christ once again, and by God’s grace and the power of the Spirit, move on to live Christ.

Fifth, the New Evangelization calls for the greater participation of the laity. They make up 99.9+% of the Church and are to be the workers needed if we look to a massive work of mission and renewal. “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’” (v.9:37-38).

Sixth, the New Evangelization, in order to be done effectively, needs its workers to be formed and trained, especially in the parishes. Then they would be more effective evangelizers and witnesses. As with Jesus, there must be “teaching in their synagogues” (v.9:35b). Teaching, formation and training are sorely lacking in parishes and many Church organizations.

Seventh, the New Evangelization engages its workers in intense spiritual warfare, assaulting the evil forces that enslave people.“Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.” (v.10:1). The New Evangelization is the way to freedom from the dominion of the enemy.

Eighth, the New Evangelization is to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit, thus manifesting signs and wonders. “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” (v.10:8a). Doing what is divine work allows God’s workers to tap into His power.

Ninth, the New Evangelization, done according to God’s intent, is to bring about total human liberation, from sin as well as from the ills in the world. God’s workers are to go about “curing every disease and illness.” (v.9:35d).

Tenth, the New Evangelization can only be accomplished by holy warriors who give of themselves totally, without counting the cost. “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (v.10:8b). Those who truly live Christ will be compelled to also share Christ.

The New Evangelization sends us forth to proclaim the gospel. It is nothing short of re-establishing, reviving, renewing and strengthening the body of Christ on earth. “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (v.10:7). You are among those called. Will you be Christ’s apostles for the New Evangelization?

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