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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
(Part 234)

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 the day.

Jesus 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.

That 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.

One, 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 offense.

Two, 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.

Jesus 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.

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