Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization of His Church. Then, he is calling all of the loyal sons and daughters of His Church into a new missionary age.

We will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church. The teaching concerning missionary activity both at the Council and since has been that the Church is by nature missionary and that every baptized Christian participates in that mission. Our task, no matter what our state in life or vocation, is to be missionaries, in every nation and to every culture. That understanding lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian - we carry forward in time the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ. All Christians need to "put out into the deep" and lower our nets for a catch.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: New Evangelization, missionary, Duc in Altum, Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, missionary, gospel, Vatican II, catechesis, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The Gospel I proclaimed at Mass on Thursday of the 22d Week of "Ordinary Time" (Luke 5:1-11) reminded me of insights Blessed John Paul II shared in an apostolic letter he wrote at the beginning of the new millennium. They are a call to every Christian, no matter what their state in life, to take up the missionary mandate of the Church:
 
"At the beginning of the new millennium, and at the close of the Great Jubilee during which we celebrated the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus and a new stage of the Church's journey begins, our hearts ring out with the words of Jesus when one day, after speaking to the crowds from Simon's boat, he invited the Apostle to "put out into the deep" for a catch: "Duc in altum" (Lk 5:4).

"Peter and his first companions trusted Christ's words, and cast the nets."When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish" (Lk 5:6). Duc in altum! These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). (Pope John Paul II, "At the Beginning of the New Millennium")

The words reflected the dynamic living faith and indomitable missionary spirit which characterized the life and ministry of the late Pope. He coined the phrase "New Evangelization." Among the many writings and speeches throughout his pontificate wherein he used the phrase was his 1990 Encyclical Letter entitled "Mission of the Redeemer."

He wrote, "God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples".

He lived this mission until his final passing to the Father. His living faith was displayed to the whole world, confirming the great truth of the Gospel which he both proclaimed and incarnated in a life of conformity to Jesus Christ. His blessed successor in office, Pope Benedict XVI, continues to call us to this "New Evangelization" and speaks regularly of this time in which we live as a new missionary age.

In his first homily delivered at the installation liturgy wherein he assumed the Chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed:  "Peter's call to be a shepherd...comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish... There too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: "Master, at your word I will let down the nets." And then came the conferral of his mission: "Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men" (Lk 5:1-11). Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel - to God, to Christ, to true life."

We must cultivate a missionary spirit. Western culture is deeply de-Christianized. Only the Church can carry out the needed evangelical work the West needs. She is the Body of the Risen Christ, called to carry on His redemptive mission and continue His presence on this earth as a universal sign and sacrament. She is the missionary agent and - in the words of the fathers of the second Vatican Council - the seed and beginning of the kingdom of God.

The "New Evangelization" of the Church:

The Catholic Church needs conversion at every level. It will necessitate solid catechesis, instruction in the Catholic Christian faith. Many Catholic Christians do not know what their Church actually teaches. They have embraced what some have called a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of the faith they will follow. In some cases, a practical atheism is spreading, demonstrated by those who claim the title Christian and profess the ancient Christian Creed at Mass but fail to live it during the rest of the week.

The Church is God's plan for every culture and for the entire world. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled". We who are Christians were reborn in Baptism as through a second womb and entrusted to the Church as mother. We now live our life in the Church. We may leave our buildings after we gather for Liturgy and Prayer but we never leave our communion with the Lord and, in Him, with one another for the sake of the world.

The Church has been weakened from within and is under attack from without. We cannot abandon the Church to the wolves within or without. The promise of the Master is still true "The gates of hell will not prevail" (Matt. 16:18). There is no "plan B" through which Christ will save this world. The Church is His Plan! She has undergone much purification throughout her two thousand years. Her hull may be battered but she is still the Ark of Salvation.

Saint Cyprian ( A.D. 258) proclaimed "He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy. You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother." (On The Unity of the Catholic Church) Church history demonstrates that seasons of purification are often followed by times of restoration and triumph for the Church. I believe it will be so in our day - in spite of what some may say. The Catholic Church is not a mere human institution. If it were, it would have shipwrecked long ago.

The Church is that Ark, the boat, presided over by the Lord. He is at the helm steering His redemptive course through time and providing the means of grace we all need to be set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2) in order to become new creations.(2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus says to those of us who have joined His family through our Baptism what he said to those frightened followers "Put Out Into the Deep, and lower your nets for a catch".

The Mission to the World:

The contemporary culture has thrown off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a new paganism. There is nothing progressive about the claims of the self styled "progressives" of this age. They spout the sophistry of an age that purports to be "enlightened" when it is stumbling in darkness, drunk on its own excesses and folly.

The embrace of license over liberty, death over life and the use and abuse of the goods of the earth over stewardship are all fueled by a counterfeit notion of freedom as a raw power over others and the delusion that "freedom" implies some feigned "right" to choose what is wrong. Such a "freedom" is a counterfeit and leads to what Jesus (John 8:34) and St PaulRomans 6:20) rightly called the slavery of sin.  

The rejection of even the existence of objective truth in an age deceived by a dictatorship of relativism has given rise to a practical atheism. It is not new. It is Eden's error rewritten. Our age rejected God and His plan for the human race. Contemporary humankind, like Cain, now wanders aimlessly in a land of Nod, East of Eden.

America consistently polls as one of the most "religious" of the Nations of the West but has little evidence of the influence of religious faith in its daily life. The moral philosopher Alasdair Macintyre once said that "the creed of the English is that there is no God but it is wise to pray to him from time to time." Let's be honest, this is now the "creed" of the whole of Western culture.

"Religion" is acceptable as long as it is kept "private". Christianity can never be "kept private". It must be given away in love. The Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is profoundly public. Christian faith may be personal but it is not private. It proclaims a God who loves the world that He created so much that He wrote the universal laws governing all men and women into the fabric of a natural law.

The God who fashioned us out of the earth breathed his Life into us, making us in His Image. He invites us us to grow into His likeness. The epicenter of His Image within us is our capacity for freedom, our ability to choose. He now  invites us to choose what is right and true. Christians insist some choices that are universally wrong and that there is an objective truth for all men and women, all cultures and all times. The new pagans find this offensive. However, its reassertion by a renewed Church, and its demonstration in our lives, will set freedom free.

Cultures formerly infused with a Christian culture, are post-Christian and need to be "re- evangelized." We who live in America know firsthand the sadness of the loss of this Christian influence. Only a holy, vibrant faith filled Catholic Church can bring this culture of death, use and darkness to a new conversion and transformation. ".

Put Out Into the Deep (Luke 5:4)

All of the faithful, men, and women, lay, clergy and religious - ALL of the faithful - are members of the Body of Christ. As Pope Benedict recently reminded us, we are "Co-Responsible" for the Church. We all need to view ourselves as missionaries. This mission is not reserved for a group of "professionals", whether they be clergy or the growing "professional" lay faithful who seem to be multiplying. Rather, it is the task incumbent on all of the Christian faithful.

We will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church. The teaching concerning missionary activity both at the Council and since has been that the Church is by nature missionary and that every baptized Christian participates in that mission. Our task is to be missionaries, in every nation and to every culture. That understanding lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian - we carry forward in time the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.

All Christians need to "put out into the deep" and lower our nets for a catch. The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization of His Church. Then, he is calling all of the loyal sons and daughters of His Church into a new missionary age.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Living Faith

Nuclear weapons still threaten the world

Image of Nuclear weapons still threaten the world.

By Tony Magliano

You are within 30 minutes of being incinerated from nuclear weapons! If you live in or near a large U.S. city or major military installation, you are in harm's way. And when considering that radiation fallout from a nuclear attack would hurt virtually everyone, we are ... continue reading


Why do Catholics love the crucifix so much?

Image of The crucifix is an important part of our Catholic identity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The crucifix is a quintessentially Catholic icon. Although other Christians fondly and proudly display the cross, it is the crucifix that is largely unique to the Catholics. Why is the symbol of the death of Christ so important to Catholics? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


What is the Kingdom of God? How do We Live in it Now? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present as seed and sign in a world which is in labor, awaiting a new birth. We are a people on mission in that world, waiting to be fully liberated from the ... continue reading


POPE: 'A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others' Watch

Image of The pope told the priests that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others." Those are the words of the Pope, speaking out during a meeting with 123 priests working in the Diocese of Caserta along with 19 bishops from Italy's Campania region this past ... continue reading


UPROOTED: Largest displacement of worldwide religious communities reached last year Watch

Image of In the nation of Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and violence between Christians and Muslims resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December -- alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The year of 2013 turned out to be a very grim year indeed for religious tolerance and diversity. Millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Papal visit to US not confirmed, but archbishop confident

Image of Pope Francis coming to Philly next September!

By Catholic News Agency (News Consortium)

Lets all Pray that Pope Francis comes to visit us here in the United States of America. Philadelphia, PA  (CNA/EWTN) - Reports that Pope Francis will travel to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in 2015 remain unconfirmed by the Vatican; however, ... continue reading


Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter