This will be the happiest marriage of all time. This was judgment day, which for Adam and Eve meant that it was also eviction day. No longer could they live in the holy sanctuary of Eden in the presence of a holy God, because they had become unholy people. Instead, God began working out his plan to make it possible for sinners to be made clean and holy in order to live in his presence.
When we read about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Gen. Rather, it was evil because it was forbidden. God had put this tree in the garden to give Adam and Eve the opportunity to live out genuine faith and obedience. Adam should have crushed the head of the evil serpent then and there. He should have squashed this rebellion rather than taking part in it.
Had he done so, Adam and Eve would have been able to eat their fill of the tree of life, and enter into a heavenly life, without ever having to experience death. But it would seem that the fruit of this tree was a feast for Adam and Eve would enjoy once they passed the test of obedience represented in the forbidden tree. Because of their disobedience they were barred from eating of the tree.
Instead, the tree of life is gloriously planted in the center of the greater garden to come. In Eden, the trees bore fruit in their season, which means once a year. But in the new and better Eden, the tree of life yields a new crop of fruit every month. In Eden, the tree of life grew in the midst of the garden. But in the new Eden, the tree of life grows on either side of the river. It seems to have multiplied and expanded, implying that everyone will have access to it; all will be welcome to eat their fill. In fact, they will heal everything. She and her husband, David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10, churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child.
The Promised One Nancy Guthrie. Genesis Mitchell M. Resurrection Life in a World of Suffering D. Carson , Kathleen Nielson. Sign In. Eden was good, but not yet fully glorious. Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.
Finally, in Part 6, I reaffirm that unleashing the Gospel is the work of the whole Church in the Archdiocese empowered by the Spirit of the risen Lord, and I describe how I aim to lead us in this mission in my remaining years as Archbishop. It is [Christ Jesus] whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Colossians For families this means that every family embraces its role as the domestic church and, in connection with other families and single persons, actively seeks the spiritual and social renewal of its neighborhood, schools and places of work.
For parishes and archdiocesan services it means the renewal of structures to make them Spirit-led and radically mission-oriented. This missionary conversion entails a strikingly countercultural way of living grounded in prayer, Scripture, and the sacraments; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society; and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Matthew The missionary conversion to which the Lord calls us is new, yet it is also a return to the roots of our identity as the Church of Jesus Christ, manifested to the world on the day of Pentecost. It is the Church becoming young again! It is a reawakening to our foundational calling, applied in a new way to the specific circumstances and challenges of our time. She exists in order to evangelize.
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Evangelization is, very simply, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those around us. This proclamation is to be both in word and in deed. On the other hand, if we share the good news in deeds only, people will not learn of the One who is the source of the joy and divine love we carry within us. Those around us are thirsting for the Gospel, the words of eternal life, even if they do not realize it. How can we fail to share generously what we have freely received? Parishes and dioceses slipped almost imperceptibly into a mode of maintenance rather than mission. Many Catholics came to think of evangelization as a special calling, primarily for priests and religious in the foreign missions.
But in the last half century, even as the western world has become increasingly secularized and countless people have abandoned the faith into which they were baptized, the Church has been ringing out a call for all Catholics to awaken to their baptismal identity as missionary disciples. All are being summoned to engage in a new evangelization—a renewed proclamation of the good news of Christ to the people of our time. John Paul II, takes account of the fact that the Church in our time exists in a vastly changed situation.
The Synod participants noted the many opportunities for unleashing the Gospel. Our local Church is rich in lay involvement; there is a wide variety of flourishing movements, ministries, and initiatives. We are ready now to build on that foundation. If our first response was to change our way of thinking about ourselves as the people of God, our response now is to make use of the fruit given in these past five decades in order to go outward with the Gospel.
Our internal renewal is for the sake of mission. In our civil society as well, there are many signs that our communities are ready for renewal. There is a recognition that we are in a new social situation, a readiness to move beyond the way we have always done things and to think about new ways. At the same time the Synod participants recognized the many challenges facing the Archdiocese of Detroit.
For several decades the number of practicing Catholics has been in steady decline, a significant factor leading to many painful closings and mergings of parishes and schools, which has in turn caused more people to drift away in discouragement or frustration. The number of active priests has also dropped considerably. In the last half century our metro area has suffered from urban blight, economic decline, racial tensions, family breakdown, substance abuse, and crime.
The Archdiocese covers a wide range of geographic and demographic settings—inner city, suburban and rural—each with its own unique characteristics and needs. These multiple challenges have contributed to a widespread pessimism regarding the possibility of authentic renewal. Some might say that the Archdiocese of Detroit is a most unlikely setting for a large-scale revitalization of the Church. But is it not in the most unlikely settings that the Lord loves to show forth his divine power?
Our acknowledgement of our own spiritual poverty is precisely what can lead us to rely wholly on God. Then it becomes clear that success belongs to him alone and not to any human ingenuity. If we have become spiritually dry, we need not fear. Dry wood is perfect for being set on fire!
We also recognize that Catholics are not the only ones who are seeking to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in southeast Michigan. We honor and support the efforts of our brothers and sisters in other Christian communions to bear witness to Christ. God is at work in them, and there is much we can learn from their evangelistic fervor. Wherever possible we should work together with them to bring the light of Christ into our city and region, although without ceasing to proclaim the fullness of Catholic teaching. The roots of the present crisis of faith go far beyond the boundaries of our local Church.
For the last several centuries the western world has been gradually abandoning its Christian foundations. Underlying the rejection of Christian faith at a deep level are often false or pseudo religions, belief systems based on profoundly misguided assumptions. Many people hold these beliefs unreflectively, not aware of their underlying premises. Some of the most common false religions today are the following.
Scientific fundamentalism. Scientific fundamentalism is a belief that all questions about human existence and the world can be answered by experimental science. The universe is regarded as a closed system in which everything can be explained by the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, and evolution. God, if he exists at all, does not intervene in the world.
Anything that cannot be proven scientifically is assumed to be false or at least unimportant. In reality, such a belief attributes to science a role that is far beyond its competence, since there are vast domains of existence that experimental science cannot account for, including ethical goods, aesthetic values, love, friendship, sacrifice, knowledge, and even science itself. Moralistic therapeutic deism. This term was famously coined by two sociologists to describe the amorphous set of religious beliefs to which many American young people subscribe.
It is therapeutic in that it envisions God as on call to take care of problems that arise in our lives, but not otherwise interested in us nor holding us accountable for our choices.
It is deistic in that it views God as having created the world but not personally involved in it. Such views fall far short of the Christian understanding of God, who does hold us accountable, who gave his Son for us to save us from the devastating consequences of sin, and who desires to be deeply involved in our lives. Secular messianism. Secular messianism is a politicized version of Christianity that makes the Gospel subservient to a human agenda. It comes in various forms both liberal and conservative , but in every case it reduces Christianity to a program of social progress in this world.
Such an outlook has lost sight of the eschatological vision of the Gospel—the fact that what we believe and do in this life has eternal consequences, because the world as we know it will one day come to an end and Christ will return as the Lord before whom every knee will bow Phil All these false answers to the deepest questions of life are not reasons for discouragement but for hope, because they show that people are hungry and searching for truth even if they are knocking on the wrong door. As St. It has only misdirected it. Every human being, even if they are not aware of it, longs to be known and to be loved unconditionally.
Everyone yearns for authentic happiness. Everyone wants to be secure in their identity, to be fulfilled as a human being, and to matter to others in some way. God himself has placed these desires in the human heart, and they can ultimately be fulfilled in Christ alone; anything less will fail to satisfy. That is why we who belong to Christ can never cease to propose him to those who do not yet know him.
Jesus Christ is the desire of the nations, and his Gospel is the answer to the deepest aspirations of the human heart. At Synod 16 many frank discussions were held in which the participants discerned and evaluated together the present state of the Archdiocese of Detroit. A look at these good and bad habits will help us identify both what has to change and what we are called to become. Our bad habits are those attitudes, misunderstandings, or deceptions that hold us back from unleashing the Gospel.
Five of these stood out in particular at the Synod. A worldly notion of the Church. Too often the Church is viewed, even by Catholics, as simply a human institution, and the Catholic faith as merely a lifestyle enhancer. The priest is seen as a kind of ecclesiastical civil servant.
It is Christ who directs the mission and activity of the Church and who will bring her without fail to her final destiny. All of us, clergy and laity alike, are servants of the Lord who will one day render an account of our service to him. Spiritual lethargy.
The second vice is closely related to the first. If the Church is viewed as a human institution, then it is easy to become overwhelmed by the challenges that face us. The feeling that we have to carry the burden of a struggling Church contributes in turn to weariness, discontent, and defeatism. It may seem as if we are pushing a rock up a steep hill and getting nowhere. Where there has been such lethargy, dear brothers and sisters, let us repent!
If our ardor has cooled, let us ask the Lord to touch us once again with a burning ember from his altar cf. Isa that we may be rekindled in our zeal for him. Status quo mentality. There can be a kind of institutional hardening, a resistance to change. We may consider that certain institutional forms, customs and practices have carried us in the past and we do not want to put in the effort to reform them. The fourth bad habit can sometimes be more hidden. We can be subtly influenced by a combination of fears: fear of taking risks, fear of failure, fear of losing control, fear of going beyond our comfort zone.
But yielding to fear keeps us in spiritual bondage cf. Heb Isa We must choose not to be guided by fear. Whenever we become aware of fears and anxieties influencing us, we can bring them before the Lord in all honesty and ask him to replace them with apostolic courage. A complaining attitude.
A common temptation in reaction to problems is to lament that we no longer have the power or prestige we once had. But complaining leads only to discouragement and paralysis. God thinks we have enough, because we have him. Our good habits are those dispositions of mind and heart that we must take on in order to become a radically mission-oriented Church. They are in fact a participation in the mind and heart of Jesus. The following good habits are particularly crucial to the cultural change we are seeking to effect in the Archdiocese.
Docility to the Spirit. Apostolic boldness. A quality that stood out among the early Christians was their boldness in proclaiming the Gospel, even in the face of hostility and persecution cf. They did not hesitate to proclaim Jesus as the one Savior whom God offers to the whole human race, and to call their listeners to repentance and conversion.
Their boldness was not a human personality trait, but a result of their intimate union with Christ cf. A spirit of innovation. The rapidly changing cultural situation in which we find ourselves requires that we think in new and creative ways. We need to be willing to jettison some old structures that no longer work and to experiment with new ones.
Paul tried different missionary strategies in different settings cf. A spirit of cooperation. There can be no competition in the body of Christ, because we have one Lord and one united purpose Eph The whole Archdiocese has embarked on the new evangelization together, and any victory for one is a victory for all. Confidence in God. We give the Lord the best of our effort, but it is he who will bring the increase. We can trust in him, for the renewal of the Archdiocese of Detroit is not our work but his divine work in which we are cooperating.
An attitude of gratitude. The best antidote to discouragement is to praise God continually for who he is and to thank him for what he has done. Gratitude puts us in a right posture before God and opens us to his further work in our lives. I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life. The Lord is breathing his Spirit into you to bring you to life! He is awakening you to what Christ came to give you, the fullness of life that comes from knowing him and receiving the free gift of his salvation.
Smart travelers look for directional signs on their road. One of the most precious fruits of the Synod experience was the disclosure of these signs to mark out the way for us to take in our efforts to unleash the Gospel. Specifically, they serve as the guides for plotting the action steps set out in Part 5 in order to implement the propositions endorsed at the Synod. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth. Synod 16 has definitively set the Church in Detroit on the path of the new evangelization; we are living in our own time the Gospel mysteries of the Great Commission and Pentecost.
As the first evangelization could not have taken place without the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, so the new evangelization cannot be accomplished without a new Pentecost. Rom , revealing to us the Lordship of Jesus and our own exalted identity as beloved sons and daughters of God.
The transformation caused by the Spirit was most visible in the apostle Peter. Before Pentecost, Peter had left everything to follow Jesus and was earnestly seeking to live by his teaching. But his ability to fulfill his apostolic mission was compromised by his own fears and failings.
Then after boasting of his loyalty to the Master, he came face to face with his own weakness and cowardice. For the Church in Detroit, reliving the Gospel mysteries means that we continually return to the Upper Room, asking for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us and on the whole region. We seek to bring every member of the Church, insofar as possible, into a personal and life-transforming experience of the Holy Spirit.
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The book of Acts ends in chapter 28 with Paul under house arrest in Rome, still boldly preaching the Gospel. We are living the 29th chapter of Acts! The ecology of the New Testament by which the Gospel was unleashed in the ancient world is the ecology of the Church today.
It thus includes the same elements of repentance and faith; signs and wonders. The kingdom of God is at hand. There is no true offer of the good news that does not also call for repentance. And calling people to repentance requires that we speak of sin and its consequences, including the ultimate consequence of eternal separation from God. It is the key that unlocks the mercy of God! The call to repentance is always addressed to ourselves first, since all of us are continually in need of deeper conversion. We must provide our pastors, catechists and others with practical help and a systematized approach to presenting Christian morality.
To believe means to accept the free gift of salvation that God gives us in his Son, which far surpasses anything we could deserve or accomplish cf. Eph Grace comes first; our part is to receive. The invitation to believe in the Gospel is always personal: it is not a moral program but the offer of communion with a person, Jesus. The evangelist presents the challenges of the Gospel not as the word of a superior to an inferior, but of a friend to a friend. Relationships are key to this whole process.
We prepare the ground by first establishing trust, and then we offer accompaniment to the sinner along the challenging road to life in Christ. When the woman came to the well for her daily task of drawing water, Jesus engaged her in conversation, showing that he cared for her as a person. By the end of their encounter she forgot all about her bucket, because she had now drunk of the living water—that water that is the Holy Spirit Jn Because of that encounter the woman herself became an evangelist.
A Morning Resolve
Could he possibly be the Messiah? The joy of her new life was evident to all who saw her. This formerly isolated, outcast person was now forgiven, healed and reconciled to God. So powerful was her testimony that, as a result, the entire town came to faith in Jesus Jn We have been given a prison-shaking Savior, a deliverer who sets captives free! Signs, small and great, are a normal part of the Christian life. Our focus is not on the signs themselves, but on the risen Lord Jesus to whom they point.
Let us… persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. Hebrews The task of evangelizing is to propose Jesus Christ as the Savior whom God the Father offers to every human being. The new evangelization is not a membership drive, nor is it an effort to shore up a code of conduct. Rather, it is a love affair. All are invited to encounter Jesus and let their hearts be captured by him.
An encounter is a person-centered form of contemplation; it is two people being present to each other with no utilitarian purpose. In either case, encountering Jesus is like meeting the person you are going to marry: you are overwhelmed by this encounter and cannot imagine going forward in life without that person.
The Christian life becomes not just one but a series of encounters with Jesus, especially through prayer and the liturgy, which continually deepen our relationship with him. Preaching and catechesis in our local Church must foster such encounters, especially by explaining our love relationship with Christ as the purpose of the liturgy. Whenever possible we should invite people to respond to Jesus by surrendering their lives to him, and give them concrete opportunities to do so.
For many of us, even for clergy, there is need for a renewed encounter with Jesus. Whenever we feel spiritually fatigued, arid, or battle-worn, it is this return to our first love Rev that lifts us up again and revives our hearts. This is indeed essential, but it does not come first. As Pope Francis has reminded us:.
The kerygma… needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal…. It is first in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways…. It is essential for all preachers and catechists to learn the art of proclaiming the kerygma and to reflect on how to make all their preaching and teaching more kerygmatic. Priests and deacons, in particular, should consider how to make use of opportune moments to preach the kerygma, especially to those who are not practicing the faith—occasions such as weddings, funerals, parish social events, baptismal preparation for parents, and sacramental preparation for children and families.
Personal testimony has an indispensable role in evangelization. Testimony has a unique power to touch hearts, since it is almost impossible to ignore the witness of someone who has encountered Jesus personally and whose life has been transformed by him. The townspeople of the Samaritan woman at the well came to faith in Jesus because of her testimony, which eventually led them to encounter him themselves Jn , There is a wide variety of appropriate occasions for the giving of personal testimonies, not only in church but also in less formal settings; for instance, at the end of Mass, during times of informal prayer, in catechetical settings, RCIA programs, marriage preparation, small groups, Bible studies, etc.
There is need for prudent discernment of whom to invite to give testimony, and it is wise to have them practice and receive guidance beforehand. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John So in this age of the new covenant the Creator communicates himself to us through the created means he himself has chosen. In our efforts to unleash the Gospel, we proceed with the firm conviction that the Holy Spirit brings about life-changing encounters with the Lord Jesus in his Mystical Body the Church, particularly in fellowship with one another, in Sacred Scripture, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most especially in the Holy Eucharist.
The Church is the context given by God in which we encounter Jesus Christ.
God's Purpose for the Family > The Christian Family from a Holiness Perspective
God relates to his people not as isolated individuals but as a people, a family, united with one another in deep bonds of love Eph Pastors and other leaders should reflect on how to deepen the experience of communion among their parishioners. Do some people attend Mass in isolation, not knowing or being known by others? Do some have the impression that relating to God is sufficient and relating to others in the parish is unnecessary? Are all aware of their responsibility to encourage and build up the faith of others?
Do all recognize the need to forgive the offenses of others, to bear with their faults and failings, to avoid cliques and factions, to overcome social and cultural barriers, and to reach out to those who may feel lonely or neglected? One effective way to foster communion is to form well-planned small groups in which the members meet regularly for Bible study or faith formation as well as mutual support, encouragement, and growth in holiness.
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Social events can also go a long way toward building relationships. It is important to keep in mind that fellowship in the Church is not for its own sake, but is always centered on the Person of Christ. One who is in love desires to know more and more about the beloved. Since all Scripture speaks of Christ, immersing ourselves in the word is a way to deepen our initial encounter and grow in our relationship with him.
An evangelizing parish is one in which parishioners continually study, talk about, and pray with the Scriptures. To this end, parishes must make Bible study resources available, particularly to put the Scriptures in context for those who know them only through the readings proclaimed at Sunday Mass. Parishioners also need to be taught how to do lectio divina, reading Scripture in prayerful conversation with God. For this reason I encourage pastors and the faithful to recognize the importance of this emphasis on the Bible.
The renewal of this sacrament in our local Church is an essential part of our efforts to unleash the Gospel. Before the young man even finishes his confession, the father commands that he be clothed in a robe, ring and sandals—signs of restoration to full sonship—and that a feast be held to celebrate. This entails both clear preaching about the consequences of sin and generous availability and use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
For those who have fallen away from their faith and the Church, Reconciliation is an open doorway for return. For those already practicing the faith, being cleansed of sin is crucial for opening themselves to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Just as the sins of each individual have a negative spiritual effect on the whole community, so even more the spiritual healing and forgiveness received through the sacrament cause grace to flow through the whole community.
In the Holy Eucharist we reach the summit of our participation in the victory of Christ over sin and death—the triumph we proclaim in the new evangelization. In this Most Blessed Sacrament we have the source of our zeal and strength to unleash the Gospel. Evangelization leads to the Eucharist, since the Eucharist is the fullness of communion with Jesus and his whole Church. On the other hand, the Eucharist leads to evangelization, since our ability to announce the Gospel springs from the passion and resurrection of Christ which is made present anew in the Eucharist.
Thus the goal of the liturgy is never just to receive the sacrament and go home; it is to become a living tabernacle through which Christ is made present to others. The love that we celebrate in the sacrament is not something we can keep to ourselves. By its very nature it demands to be shared with all. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, since it brings people directly into the presence of Jesus, is a powerful means of revitalizing a parish and equipping it to transform the culture. Parishes must also focus sustained attention on the quality of the Sunday liturgy experience, especially from the perspective of newcomers and newly returning Catholics.
Does the music help them to lift up their minds and hearts in worship of God? Does the preaching break open the word of God and help them apply it to their lives? These qualities are not the responsibility of the pastor alone but of the entire congregation. If improvement is needed, let us strive for it with patience and perseverance. He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Ephesians Implementing this Guidepost entails a paradigm shift such that every parish becomes a school of evangelization in which all members are being equipped to be witnesses of Christ. To become an effective evangelizer one must first be evangelized, since we cannot give away what we do not have. Thus an urgent priority is to ensure that those who are to invite others to Christ have a deep personal relationship with Christ themselves.
Some signs of this relationship are: receiving the sacraments regularly; engaging in personal prayer every day; reading Scripture daily; constantly learning more about the faith and seeking to live by it; and engaging in long-term regular service activities. All members of the local Church should examine themselves to ensure that they have not stalled in their discipleship and thus become unable to give credible witness to the power of the Gospel. The Lord always has more for us than what we have yet received. Every one of us is called to, and capable of, sainthood.
Since evangelizing does not come naturally for most people, being effective evangelizers also usually requires the development of some practical skills. A parish that is a community of missionary disciples is one that provides regular opportunities for parishioners to learn and practice skills such as the following:. Christ has endowed his bride with an abundance of supernatural charisms, gifts of the Holy Spirit that equip every member of the body of Christ to do his or her part in bearing witness to Christ and building up the Church.
The foundation and standard for using these gifts is always love 1 Cor For the exercise of this apostolate [of the laity], the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies the people of God through ministry and the sacraments gives the faithful special gifts also cf. Let us also give people room to grow and flourish in the use of their gifts, as St.
Only a person who can discern the gifts of others and can humbly rejoice at the flourishing of those gifts is fit to lead the Church. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! Christ calls every priest, deacon, religious and lay person in the Archdiocese to embark upon the new evangelization, to employ new methods and a new fervor in unleashing the Gospel. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization. The special calling and privilege of the lay faithful is to bring Christ into the secular world.
The engagement of every lay person, according to their gifts and state in life, is essential for the mission of the Church to be fulfilled. The leadership of our priests and deacons in unleashing the Gospel is crucial for this mission; every pastoral work must make a contribution to the new evangelization.
As priests, we must resist the idea that we are ecclesiastical civil servants whose primary task is to maintain the organization. Rather, the organization is always at the service of the Gospel. We lead the sheep to green pastures where they can be fed, refreshed, and spiritually built up so that they themselves can then be sent out into the harvest. A priest is a servant of the word of God. He is consecrated and sent forth to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to all, calling every person to the obedience of faith….
Priests and deacons need to be bold in proclaiming all the elements of the Gospel, not only those parts that people want to hear. Preachers need ongoing formation in how to do so with compassion, conviction and clarity. The Lord has raised up in our local Church men and women in consecrated life, as well as lay people who belong to ecclesial movements, so that they can employ their unique charisms in the new evangelization. We thank God for every religious order, congregation, society, and movement that is present in the Archdiocese, each with its particular gifts.
Their lives of prayer, service and self-sacrifice cause the fragrance of Christ to fill the atmosphere, so that others are drawn to him cf. Those in contemplative life are particularly indispensable to our local Church. If our mission is fruitful, it is largely because of their hidden prayers and sacrifices. Those in active apostolates make the good news of Christ visible and tangible to those they serve. I entreat all those in consecrated life to pray fervently and frequently for the success of our efforts to unleash the Gospel.
The ecclesial movements, many of which have sprung up since Vatican Council II, kindle fervor in lay people and bring fresh creativity and dynamism to evangelization. The youth and young adults of our local Church have a particular call, which the Church wholeheartedly supports, to bring the light of the Gospel into southeast Michigan. On the day of Pentecost St. We address our preaching of the Gospel to young people, but we must not forget that they themselves are also agents of the new evangelization. They have a unique ability to reach the people of their own generation, and they can help us think in new ways.
We must make every effort to encourage, challenge, mentor, and raise up the young to take up their rightful roles in the mission of the Church, entrusting responsibility to them as appropriate. Whatever you do, do from the heart. The Gospel is most effectively shared in person-to-person encounters. Such personal, on-the-spot evangelization can be prepared for and enhanced by programs and processes and media, but it cannot be replaced by them. Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.
Luke The new evangelization cannot be accomplished from within the walls of our churches. Jesus himself did not remain in the synagogues where there were already devout people; he also went out to places where tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners could be found. As Pope Francis has urged,. Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ….
I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security…. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ… . Now is the time for our evangelization to become more intentional and more person-to-person.
Every individual in the Archdiocese, especially lay people, are called to consider how the Lord may be calling us to go out, beyond where we may have gone before—even to the most unlikely places—to share the good news of Jesus with those who may never have heard it. Wherever the time and circumstances are right, sharing the Gospel also includes inviting people, both fellow parishioners and outsiders, to join in the activities of the Church. While they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them. Accompaniment of those being evangelized is an essential part of unleashing the Gospel.
When Jesus walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he did not immediately begin to instruct them. Instead he first listened to them and allowed them to share their hopes and disappointments, winning their trust. He met them where they were in their faith and helped them to go further. Sharing the Gospel is only the beginning of evangelization. Those who are being evangelized, including our own parishioners, often need time to assimilate the Gospel and bring their lives into conformity with it. They may have developed worldly habits and ways of thinking that need to be gradually transformed.
This is not always an easy process, especially for those who have spent many years living apart from God. They need others to walk by their side and lead them closer to God with patience, compassion, and wisdom. Ex An intrinsic part of accompaniment is healing. Many people today are deeply wounded by contemporary social ills such as the breakdown of the family, abuse, poverty, or racism. The Church today continues the ministry of the apostolic Church, which continued the ministry of Jesus. So we must prayerfully discern how the healing work of Christ can be incorporated into our announcement of the good news.
This includes making the two sacraments of healing, Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick, easily available. It may also include the establishment of healing prayer ministry teams or providing prayer for healing on a regular basis after Mass. The use of the gift of healing requires discernment, but such discernment is not to be confused with the skepticism of our age.
Nor is healing a substitute for the hard work of growing in discipleship; rather, it is a gift to encourage us on that path. Just as St. Paul used the highly developed Roman road system and St. Maximilian Kolbe used the latest printing technologies to spread the Gospel in their times, so we recognize the advances in social media and information technology as God-given opportunities for spreading the Gospel in our time. Strong support and gratitude are owed to those members of our local Church who are using the media to spread the Good News.
I encourage the media experts among us to share their expertise and help train others in using the media for evangelization. I encourage all Catholics who use social media to recognize it as a powerful platform to engage others in conversation about the faith. At the same time, we must studiously avoid the temptation to lower our standards of charity when using social media. When people see our posts, let them see not only good content but a tone that is respectful, charitable, joyful, peaceful, and hopeful.
Every member of the Church is an ambassador of Christ, and some people may form their views of Catholicism based on our conduct. Our goal is not to win arguments but to win souls. These words that I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children. Deuteronomy Families are at the very heart of our archdiocesan efforts to unleash the Gospel, because they are the first and most important setting in which evangelization takes place. Through the sacrament of matrimony and through their love for one another, a husband and wife make visible the love between Christ and his Church.
Thus it is impossible to overestimate the centrality of the family in the passing on of faith from one generation to the next.
Yet we are all too aware that the family today is in crisis. We live in a society that devalues human life, rejects the plan of God for marriage, and redefines the family according to human ideas. Symptoms of the crisis include but are not limited to divorce, cohabitation, single parenthood, pornography, gender confusion, the isolation caused by individualism, a culture that views children and the elderly as burdens, and the stresses of modern life that prevent families from spending time together. Among the many ministries entrusted to our parishes, the first priority is to assist families to live as domestic churches.
Many parents have not been evangelized or well catechized themselves. Just as airline safety videos tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others—since otherwise we may not be able to help them at all—so parents need to have a living relationship with Jesus and to learn the faith themselves in order to hand it on effectively to their children.