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(Part 30)


March 17, 2013

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126:1-6
Philippians 3:8-14
John 8:1-11

The Church has issued the call to the New Evangelization. Now evangelization is 2,000 years old and is hardly new. But the Holy Spirit has inspired our popes to proclaim the New Evangelization, and in this Year of Faith, we simply put our trust in God who says, “See, I am doing something new!” (Is 43:19a).

What should be clear to us are the principles that can allow us to participate in this New Evangelization. What are these?

First, know that our God is a God of the impossible. Nothing is impossible for Him. As we look to how the world has plunged into secular humanism and even depravity, as we see how the world has rejected faith and thus God Himself, as we experience the hardness of the soil in which we labor, we still look to God’s transforming work. “In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.” (Is 43: 19b). God is there for us. Our faith will work wonders. “For I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink” (Is 43:20b).

Why does God do this? Because we are His people whom He intends to use for His own glory. We are instruments of His creative will. God has a special plan for us, looking upon us as “the people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.” (Is 43:21). We are to be instruments of the New Evangelization.

Second, stop living in the past, even as you build upon the past. That is to say, keep looking forward to what is to be and what is to come. Do not indulge in old glories, or be mired in past failures. “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not” (Is 43:18). Do not be frustrated with what could have been, or lament missed opportunities. Rather, look with anticipation and confidence to what wonders God will do.

Now of course we do not completely forget what has passed. While we are not to get bogged down on previous accomplishments, the past glories are there for our encouragement. God has acted in the past; He will do so again. God is able to use even miserable creatures such as us. “The Lord has done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were! Restore again our fortunes, Lord” (Ps 126:3-4a).

Even when we consider our failures, persecution, suffering and pain, these are meant to encourage us to persevere even more. We have been given the privilege of walking the path of Christ, all the way to the cross. Our suffering is salvific. Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday. We simply persevere in doing our work of evangelization, and God will be the one to provide the fruit. “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.” (Ps 126:5-6).

Third, focus on the task at hand. The most important thing in life is not our career, not our personal priorities, not our own agenda, not our desires, but to serve the God who has called us. What is pleasing to Him? How can we become the people He intends for us to be, so that He can truly use us?

We respond like Paul. One, everything is loss compared to Christ (Phil 3:7-8). Two, we must push on to even greater maturity, allowing God to really transform us (Phil 3:12). Three, we plod on with single-mindedness and faith. “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13b-14).

Fourth, grow to be a holy vessel that God can use with great effectiveness and power. We are all sinners, but we have already been redeemed by Christ. Now we need to grow to be more and more like him each day. If we are to experience the faith that works wonders, we must really strive to rid ourselves of every stain of sin. We must examine ourselves each day, and repent of infidelities and falling short of the righteousness of God. We must desire to hear Jesus say to us, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” (Jn 8:11b).

God works. Do you have the faith that will allow Him to work wonders? Do you BE.LI.EV.E? “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:19a).

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