THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
A RETURN TO PENTECOST
May 19, 2013
1 Corinthians 12:3-13
The New Evangelization is about a return to the ways by which
the Church and Jesus’ disciples are empowered to evangelize,
which ways are unfortunately unknown to many Catholics today,
and much of which are no longer operative in the Church.
starts with Jesus’ own commissioning. “As the
Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21b). God
sent Jesus into the world in order to save us, through his
sacrificial death on the cross. Now Jesus has gone to heaven,
but the work of salvation continues, as the good news of salvation
in Jesus needs to be proclaimed, so that those who hear may
believe and accept Jesus as Lord. So Jesus in turn sends us.
We are to continue his divine work, that of bringing people
to salvation in him. Are Catholics even aware of such commissioning?
it is accompanied by equipping and empowering. God does not
send us out to do such a critical work only to have us depend
on our own resources. That would be a sure way to failure.
We humans on our own are not able to confront and overcome
a powerful supernatural enemy. To do God’s work needs
God’s strength. To defeat a strong man needs a stronger
man. Thus Jesus equips us. “Receive the holy Spirit.”
(Jn 20:22b). Are Catholics living lives empowered by the Spirit?
the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples on the day of Pentecost,
it was a spectacular event--a noise like a strong driving
wind, tongues as of fire, speaking in different tongues (Acts
2:2-4). The rush of a strong driving wind signified a new
action of God in the history of salvation. Tongues of fire
signified the presence of God, preparing the apostles to proclaim
the new covenant in Jesus. Speaking in tongues signified the
worldwide mission of the Church. Do Catholics still experience
such vigorous action and vibrant presence of God?
does the Holy Spirit equip God’s people? Among others,
it is through the charismatic gifts--wisdom, knowledge, faith,
healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues,
interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:8-10). Every individual
is given at least one such gift (1 Cor 12:7). Do Catholics
today know of, understand, or use such spiritual gifts?
order to do the work of the New Evangelization, we need:
to know that we are called and commissioned, and to respond
be equipped and empowered by and through the Holy Spirit;
be baptized in the Spirit, as happened on Pentecost;
understand and make use of charismatic gifts.
Unless the above happen, there can be no New Evangelization.
There may still be various works of evangelization, but devoid
of real power as intended and provided for by God. Without
Pentecost power and proper equipment including charismatic
gifts, there can be no enduring massive evangelization or
vibrant revival in the Church. Without a renewed infilling
of the Spirit upon individual Catholics that results in a
renewed outpouring of the Spirit through the work of the whole
Church, there will be a lack of faithful witnesses to be sent
to the ends of the earth.
has provided everything needed. The Church has sounded the
call to the New Evangelization. Let us respond, as we continue
to pray, “Send forth your spirit .... and you renew
the face of the earth.” (Ps 104:30).