THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
URGENCY OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION – 7
February 22, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
The New Evangelization gives us new (or renewed) perspectives
on what our Church exists for. In this case, basically two
things. That our Church is a missionary body, and that this
work is urgent, much more so today. The New Evangelization
restates these and reminds us of what ought to be. This is
because our Church has now become more of a Church of maintenance
rather than mission. The irony is that we are unable to maintain
what we have, and the Church continues to lose Catholics by
established his Church on the rock that is Peter, and tells
him that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail
against it.” (v.18b). This has given rise to complacency.
When confronted with the reality that our Church membership
and vitality are in decline, some pastors basically say, Don’t
worry, Jesus assured us that he and his Church will be victorious.
is true. Victorious at the end. But that is not the question.
The question is: how many Catholics will be saved at the end?
When Jesus returns, will he find faith on earth? This is the
issue. Thus the New Evangelization calls us to two things.
the Church must return to its missionary foundations. The
assurance that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail
against the Church does not mean that the enemy is assaulting
the Church but will not prevail (though that is true). Rather,
what it means is that the Church ought to be the one assaulting
the gates of the enemy, and the enemy will not prevail. Gates
are for defense, not for offense. The imagery here is the
Church aggressively assaulting the enemy, and not being just
in a defensive position. Even in war, the best defense is
as our Church has lost her missionary mindset and has moved
into maintenance mode, the enemy has taken the initiative.
The enemy’s assaults have successfully taken a toll
on Church membership and weakened the Church. When do we mount
an all-out counter-offensive? If our Church is losing Catholics
by the day, then this work is very urgent. And we need to
go all out, with persistence, commitment and zeal.
established a Church that he intended to be missionary. If
we do what God intends, then we will be strong. If not, then
the Church will not only be weak but will have lost the rationale
for her existence.