The same Spirit is that harmony, just as he is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment. Today, when the networks and means of human communication have made unprecedented advances, we sense the challenge of finding and sharing a “mystique” of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide which, while chaotic, can become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage. This is not our ambition, nor is it our mission. 227. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. Evangelization also involves the path of dialogue. 48. Others, because they have lost real contact with people and so depersonalize their work that they are more concerned with the road map than with the journey itself. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. The Church’s reflection on these texts ought not to obscure or weaken their force, but urge us to accept their exhortations with courage and zeal. Cities create a sort of permanent ambivalence because, while they offer their residents countless possibilities, they also present many people with any number of obstacles to the full development of their lives. 255. This is a very real danger for believers too. Jesus was angered by those supposed teachers who demanded much of others, teaching God’s word but without being enlightened by it: “They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves will not lift a finger to move them” (Mt 23:4). 5. Our commitment does not consist exclusively in activities or programmes of promotion and assistance; what the Holy Spirit mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other “in a certain sense as one with ourselves”.  While these lack the meaning and efficacy of the sacraments instituted by Christ, they can be channels which the Holy Spirit raises up in order to liberate non-Christians from atheistic immanentism or from purely individual religious experiences. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey. Before offering some spiritual motivations and suggestions, I once more invoke the Holy Spirit. In cities, as opposed to the countryside, the religious dimension of life is expressed by different lifestyles, daily rhythms linked to places and people. Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 12. In countries of other religious traditions, or profoundly secularized countries, it will mean sparking new processes for evangelizing culture, even though these will demand long-term planning. “The Church must look with penetrating eyes within herself, ponder the mystery of her own being… This vivid and lively self-awareness inevitably leads to a comparison between the ideal image of the Church as Christ envisaged her and loved her as his holy and spotless bride (cf. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act? For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others? 259. It consists of reading God’s word in a moment of prayer and allowing it to enlighten and renew us. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. (28 September 2012). Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. 114. Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God. But this always demands the patience of one who knows full well what Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us: that anyone can have grace and charity, and yet falter in the exercise of the virtues because of persistent “contrary inclinations”. A mere glance at the Scriptures is enough to make us see how our gracious Father wants to hear the cry of the poor: “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. 64. Yes, in spite of everything!  Cf. 1, ad 3. Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love.  Here I would make my own the touching and prophetic lament voiced some years ago by the bishops of the Philippines: “An incredible variety of insects lived in the forest and were busy with all kinds of tasks… Birds flew through the air, their bright plumes and varying calls adding color and song to the green of the forests… God intended this land for us, his special creatures, but not so that we might destroy it and turn it into a wasteland… After a single night’s rain, look at the chocolate brown rivers in your locality and remember that they are carrying the life blood of the land into the sea… How can fish swim in sewers like the Pasig and so many more rivers which we have polluted? To those who speak thus I say: when will you be worthy? There is a kind of Christianity made up of devotions reflecting an individual and sentimental faith life which does not in fact correspond to authentic “popular piety”. In those places “the Christian world is becoming sterile, and it is depleting itself like an overexploited ground, which transforms into a desert”. The memory of the faithful, like that of Mary, should overflow with the wondrous things done by God. The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion.  It is good for us to renew our fervour each day and every Sunday as we prepare the homily, examining ourselves to see if we have grown in love for the word which we preach.  Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Because “the feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, the presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace” and in the various other settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures.  Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervour dies out. Let us never forget that “the expression of truth can take different forms. Evangelization and the deeper understanding of the, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Homily at Mass for the Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops (28 October 2012), Homily at Mass for the Opening of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (13 May 2007), Address for the Fortieth Anniversary of the Decree, Address to the Brazilian Bishops in the Cathedral of São Paulo, Brazil (11 May 2007), Homily at Mass for the Opening of the Year of Faith (11 October 2012), Meditation during the First General Congregation of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (8 October 2012), Address for the Screening of the Documentary, Address during the First General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops (8 October 2012, Address at the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (13 May 2007). , Personal encounter with the saving love of Jesus. The difference between enlightening people with a synthesis and doing so with detached ideas is like the difference between boredom and heartfelt fervour. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom”. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. They themselves would have found this unacceptable. , 194. In this Exhortation I claim only to consider briefly, and from a pastoral perspective, certain factors which can restrain or weaken the impulse of missionary renewal in the Church, either because they threaten the life and dignity of God’s people or because they affect those who are directly involved in the Church’s institutions and in her work of evangelization.  John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 52: AAS 93 (2001), 304. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the ideal of fraternal love! This context demands that preaching should guide the assembly, and the preacher, to a life-changing communion with Christ in the Eucharist. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (16 October 1979) 53: AAS 71 (1979), 1321. On the cross, when Jesus endured in his own flesh the dramatic encounter of the sin of the world and God’s mercy, he could feel at his feet the consoling presence of his mother and his friend. But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is “the sweat of our brow”.  Cf. God, by his sheer grace, draws us to himself and makes us one with him. Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labour? Youth ministry, as traditionally organized, has also suffered the impact of social changes. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing. Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. , Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 22: AAS 80 (1988), 539. The prophet Isaiah exultantly salutes the awaited Messiah: “You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy” (9:3). I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.  Comité Permanent De La Conférence Épiscopale Nationale Du Congo, Message sur la situation sécuritaire dans le pays (5 December 2012), 11. Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. 279. Missionaries on those continents often mention the criticisms, complaints and ridicule to which the scandal of divided Christians gives rise. Mary herself experienced these things during the years of Jesus’ childhood in Nazareth: “This is the beginning of the Gospel, the joyful good news. Fall is when leaves transition from green to red, orange, yellow, purple, brown, and when plants stop making food.  Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. This reminds us Christians that we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness. Let us also keep in mind that we should never respond to questions that nobody asks. Great is your faithfulness… It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26). 190. The first step, after calling upon the Holy Spirit in prayer, is to give our entire attention to the biblical text, which needs to be the basis of our preaching. We are seeking God’s kingdom: “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:33).  John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 37: AAS 81 (1989), 461. If we want to advance in the spiritual life, then, we must constantly be missionaries. I do so out of the conviction that their application can be a genuine path to peace within each nation and in the entire world. Helping our people to feel that they live in the midst of these two embraces is the difficult but beautiful task of one who preaches the Gospel. II-II, q. 135.  John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 10: AAS 84 (1992), 672. 213.  This task continues to be a source of immense joy for the Church: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). The preacher “ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. 159. Who has turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life?”. Unless we see him present at the heart of our missionary commitment, our enthusiasm soon wanes and we are no longer sure of what it is that we are handing on; we lack vigour and passion. 92. We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). True love is always contemplative, and permits us to serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but rather because he or she is beautiful above and beyond mere appearances: “The love by which we find the other pleasing leads us to offer him something freely”. In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14); “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). Wherever the disciples went, “there was great joy” (8:8); even amid persecution they continued to be “filled with joy” (13:52). 63. Casual indifference in the face of such questions empties our lives and our words of all meaning. Or perhaps: What do I find pleasant in this text? Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1. It helps us patiently to endure difficult and adverse situations, or inevitable changes in our plans. It is also true that at times greater emphasis is placed on the outward expressions and traditions of some groups, or on alleged private revelations which would replace all else, than on the impulse of Christian piety. Virgin of listening and contemplation, Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast, pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are, that she may never be closed in on herself or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom. Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. 18. At times the message can be presented directly, at times by way of a personal witness or gesture, or in a way which the Holy Spirit may suggest in that particular situation. 278. Some may find these suggestions self-evident, but I consider it helpful to offer them as a way of emphasizing the need to devote quality time to this precious ministry. We have created new idols. The Saviour was born in a manger, in the midst of animals, like children of poor families; he was presented at the Temple along with two turtledoves, the offering made by those who could not afford a lamb (cf. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm. Expressions of popular piety have much to teach us; for those who are capable of reading them, they are a locus theologicus which demands our attention, especially at a time when we are looking to the new evangelization. Abraham received the call to set out for a new land (cf. Both Christian preaching and life, then, are meant to have an impact on society. Plato describes the horse as a âcrooked lumbering animal, put together anyhowâ¦of a dark color, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.â Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all. The Gospel tells us: “Blessed are the merciful, because they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). In various countries, conflicts and old divisions from the past are re-emerging. Saint Thomas Aquinas, S. 69. Lk 2:24; Lev 5:7); he was raised in a home of ordinary workers and worked with his own hands to earn his bread. 36. He has chosen to call them together as a people and not as isolated individuals. Nor can we overlook the fact that in recent decades there has been a breakdown in the way Catholics pass down the Christian faith to the young. This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. Nor would we be well served by a purely sociological analysis which would aim to embrace all of reality by employing an allegedly neutral and clinical method. Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. Other Church institutions, basic communities and small communities, movements, and forms of association are a source of enrichment for the Church, raised up by the Spirit for evangelizing different areas and sectors. Sometimes examples are used to clarify a certain point, but these examples usually appeal only to the mind; images, on the other hand, help people better to appreciate and accept the message we wish to communicate.  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Libertatis Nuntius (6 August 1984), XI, 18: AAS 76 (1984), 907-908. I will treat them more fully because I believe that they will shape the future of humanity. With Mary we advance confidently towards the fulfilment of this promise, and to her we pray: Mary, Virgin and Mother, you who, moved by the Holy Spirit, welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith: as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One, help us to say our own “yes” to the urgent call, as pressing as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Some fall into it because they throw themselves into unrealistic projects and are not satisfied simply to do what they reasonably can. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. “It was a bit daunting at first,” she says of the assignment. The principal author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority, group or elite. How many words prove irksome to this system! I am grateful for the beautiful example given to me by so many Christians who joyfully sacrifice their lives and their time. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 12. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility.  John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 26: AAS 84 (1992), 698. Gal 5:22). 197. “We spoke with the owner about what the most powerful crystal would be based on their elements,” Plewes says. Hence in the evangelization of new cultures, or cultures which have not received the Christian message, it is not essential to impose a specific cultural form, no matter how beautiful or ancient it may be, together with the Gospel. 246. The rise and growth of associations and movements mostly made up of young people can be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit, who blazes new trails to meet their expectations and their search for a deep spirituality and a more real sense of belonging.  Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”. This role, at present, calls for profound social humility. It is worthy remembering that “the liturgical proclamation of the word of God, especially in the eucharistic assembly, is not so much a time for meditation and catechesis as a dialogue between God and his people, a dialogue in which the great deeds of salvation are proclaimed and the demands of the covenant are continually restated”. The delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith, The entire people of God proclaims the Gospel, Evangelization and the deeper understanding of the kerygma, Communal and societal repercussions of the kerygma, Social dialogue as a contribution to peace, he New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, IV. Beyond all our own preferences and interests, our knowledge and motivations, we evangelize for the greater glory of the Father who loves us. The common good and peace in society. To go out of ourselves and to join others is healthy for us. The parable of the weeds among the wheat (cf. It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). The central message is what the author primarily wanted to communicate; this calls for recognizing not only the author’s ideas but the effect which he wanted to produce. This is a sign of the desire of many people to contribute to social and cultural progress. The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. Spirit-filled evangelization is not the same as a set of tasks dutifully carried out despite one’s own personal inclinations and wishes. This is our definitive, deepest and greatest motivation, the ultimate reason and meaning behind all we do: the glory of the Father which Jesus sought at every moment of his life. In this situation, and also through it, God calls the believer”.. In each case, “the Church speaks from the light which faith offers”, contributing her two thousand year experience and keeping ever in mind the life and sufferings of human beings. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. II. Yet there will always be some who readily listen to a preacher’s commentaries on current affairs, while not letting themselves be challenged. For all these we already have valuable texts of the magisterium and celebrated writings by great authors. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions.  Nor is it devoid of content; rather it discovers and expresses that content more by way of symbols than by discursive reasoning, and in the act of faith greater accent is placed on credere in Deum than on credere Deum. The wisdom literature sees almsgiving as a concrete exercise of mercy towards those in need: “Almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin” (Tob 12:9). Yet lowering our arms momentarily out of weariness is not the same as lowering them for good, overcome by chronic discontent and by a listlessness that parches the soul. 86. 30, a. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that the first Christians “ate their food with glad and generous hearts” (2:46). Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. Some are even no longer content to live as part of the greater Church community but stoke a spirit of exclusivity, creating an “inner circle”. Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. 207. Ordinary pastoral ministry seeks to help believers to grow spiritually so that they can respond to God’s love ever more fully in their lives. In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. This means more than acknowledging occasional “seeds of the word”, since it has to do with an authentic Christian faith which has its own expressions and means of showing its relationship to the Church. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, “immediately proclaimed Jesus” (Acts 9:20; cf. 28. We do well to keep in mind the early Christians and our many brothers and sisters throughout history who were filled with joy, unflagging courage and zeal in proclaiming the Gospel. This is clearly distinct from every kind of intrusive accompaniment or isolated self-realization. There is nothing more precious which we can give to others. 113. So why cloud something so clear? While painfully aware of our own frailties, we have to march on without giving in, keeping in mind what the Lord said to Saint Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Those wounded by historical divisions find it difficult to accept our invitation to forgiveness and reconciliation, since they think that we are ignoring their pain or are asking them to give up their memory and ideals. Mary, who brought him into the world with great faith, also accompanies “the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17). The apostle James exhorted: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness” (Jas 3:1). In her dialogue with the State and with society, the Church does not have solutions for every particular issue. How dangerous and harmful this is, for it makes us lose our amazement, our excitement and our zeal for living the Gospel of fraternity and justice! In the homily, truth goes hand in hand with beauty and goodness. I take for granted the different analyses which other documents of the universal magisterium have offered, as well as those proposed by the regional and national conferences of bishops. He brought us to her because he did not want us to journey without a mother, and our people read in this maternal image all the mysteries of the Gospel. We may not always be able to reflect adequately the beauty of the Gospel, but there is one sign which we should never lack: the option for those who are least, those whom society discards. For just as some people want a purely spiritual Christ, without flesh and without the cross, they also want their interpersonal relationships provided by sophisticated equipment, by screens and systems which can be turned on and off on command. We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them! 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Find excuses and complain, acting as if we thought of Christianity as monocultural monotonous..., 1865 to accomplish this, â Chris Witherspoon says warns us not allow ourselves to be God ’ messenger! History is realized in a museum piece or something which is a path leading to encounter. Another in a context of service and fruitfulness also belongs to the poor in society:,. Since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and all our efforts at evangelization troubled! 16 ] what counts above all else is “ the door ”: baptism second Vatican Ecumenical Council, on... The categories of the magisterium and celebrated writings by great authors unlike the memory of the text 123.! And solidarity often become places of isolation and mutual distrust logos are trademarks of variety Media LLC. It reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they are capable of responding the... Perhaps at this time in history, and so we need to sink our roots deeper into fertile. Is what it means to be God ’ s teachings easily understood or readily appreciated by else...
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