Saturday, November 17, 2012
New evangelization unfolds in our midst
by Fr. Joselito Jopson
The concept of the “new evangelization” is borne in the Holy Spirit in the recently held Synod of Bishops last October 7 – 27, 2012 held at the Vatican. Selected Bishops, among them Manila Archbishop Lius Antonio Cardinal Tagle, were tasked by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to study the conditions affecting the Church today.
Encounter with Jesus
The new evangelization takes off from the story of the Samaritan woman who went out to get water but ended up encountering Jesus (John 4:5-42). “Like Jesus, the Church sits beside men and women so everyone may encounter Jesus; His spirit is the water that gives us eternal life,” the message of the Bishops said.
The experience of the Samaritan woman is an opportunity for the entire community to know the real Jesus. “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world”. (John 4: 5 - 42)
The living encounter calls us to unreservedly proclaim the Good News to others. “Woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel.” (1 Cor. 9:16)
In our times today, we are called to live the gospel in a renewed way that eventually becomes a communitarian experience of faith. “See how they love one another.” (Tertullian, Apology, 39, 7).
According to the Bishops, the new evangelization requires a holiness of life brought about by an active listening to the scriptures.
“We need to rediscover the ways in which Jesus approached persons and called them and put these approaches into practices.”
“Reading the Scriptures also helps us to discover opportunities to encounter Jesus, truly evangelical approaches rooted in the fundamental dimensions of human life: the family, work, friendship, various forms of poverty and the trials of life, etc.”
Call to conversion
The call to evangelize becomes a call to conversion, relying totally on Jesus who “makes all things new.”
“We firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus’ disciples, especially of his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware — we Bishops first of all — that we could never really be equal to the Lord’s calling and mandate to proclaim his Gospel to the nations. We know that we must humbly recognize our vulnerability to the wounds of history and we do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord’s Spirit is capable of renewing his Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let him mold us. This is demonstrated by the lives of the Saints, the remembrance and narration of which is a privileged means of the new evangelization.”
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