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By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/21/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Good News ... Is Destined to Reach All People and Nations

Today we live in an epoch of new evangelization. Vast horizons open up to the Gospel, while regions of ancient Christian tradition are called to rediscover the beauty of the faith. The protagonists of this mission are the men and women who, like St. Paul, can say: "For me to live is Christ " -- persons, families, communities, who decide to work in the vineyard of the Lord, according to the image of this Sunday's Gospel (cf. Matthew 20:1-16).

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/21/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: New Evangelization, Missionary age, Pope Benedict XVI, Lay Faithful, Gospel, Castel Gandolfo, Deacon Keith Fournier


CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (Catholic Online) - On Sunday, at the summer residence, Pope Benedict XVI gave his Angelus address to the faithful gathered to hear his teaching on the readings of the day. His theme was a familiar one, the New Evangelization. In October of 2012 a Bishops Synod will be held in Rome on the theme of the "New Evangelization."

Throughout the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II he called for such a "New Evangelization." Pope Benedict XVI has made the New Evangelization a central pillar of his pontificate. He erected a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

The call to a New Evangelization invites each of us to live our baptismal vocation, no matter what our state in life, completely given over to the work of the Lord in this crucial hour. We do that when we choose to live at the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

Since the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church we have been constantly reminded that the Church is by nature missionary and that every baptized Christian participates in her missionary activity. The New Evangelization means taking this truth to heart and living differently. It requires an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake a new missionary outreach.

I believe that we are at the beginning of a great resurgence in the Catholic Church precisely for this mission. Just when her opponents are ready to count the Catholic Church out, the sleeping giant is rising. Church history demonstrates that seasons of purification are often followed by times of great restoration and revival for the Church. So it will be in our day.

The Catholic Church is not a mere human institution. If it were, it would have shipwrecked long ago. The contemporary culture has lost its way, throwing off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a new paganism. What Pope Benedict calls the "Dictatorship of Relativism" is the bad fruit of a rejection of truth.

Given the current state of moral decline in Western Culture we need to view the entirety of the American continent as missionary territory, ripe for the New Evangelization. We also need to view the once Christian Nations of the European continent as mission territory.  Most importantly, we need to view ourselves as missionaries in a new missionary age.

The Lord of the harvest is calling workers to the New Evangelization of His Church. His Vicar, Pope Benedict XVI is serving Him well by calling us into the fields of contemporary culture which are ripe and ready for harvest. He is enlisting us in a new missionary age of His Church.

*****
Pope Benedict XVI Angelus Address at Castel Gandolfo

Dear brothers and sisters!

In today's liturgy we have the beginning of St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians, that is, to the members of the community that the Apostle himself established at Philippi, an important Roman colony in Macedonia, present day northern Greece. Paul arrived in Philippi during his second missionary journey, sailing from the coast of Anatolia and crossing the Aegean Sea.

That was the Gospel's first entrance into Europe. We are near the year 50, so about 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. And yet, in the Letter to the Philippians there is a hymn to Christ that already presents a complete synthesis of his mystery: incarnation, "kenosis," that is, humiliation unto death on the cross, and glorification.

This mystery itself became one with the life of the Apostle Paul, who wrote this letter while he was in prison, awaiting a sentence of life or death. He writes: "For me to live is Christ and die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). It is a new sense of life, of human existence, that consists in living communion with the living Jesus Christ; not only with a historical person, a master of wisdom, a religious leader, but with a man in whom God dwells personally.

His death and resurrection are the Good News that, starting from Jerusalem, is destined to reach all people and nations, and to transform all cultures from within, opening them to the fundamental truth: God is love; he became man in Jesus and with his sacrifice he ransomed humanity from slavery to evil, giving it a trustworthy hope.

St. Paul was a man who brought together three worlds: the Jewish world and the Greek and Roman worlds. It is not by chance that God entrusted to him the mission of bringing the Gospel from Asia Minor to Greece and to Rome, building a bridge that would take Christianity to the very ends of the earth.

Today we live in an epoch of new evangelization. Vast horizons open up to the Gospel, while regions of ancient Christian tradition are called to rediscover the beauty of the faith. The protagonists of this mission are the men and women who, like St. Paul, can say: "For me to live is Christ " -- persons, families, communities, who decide to work in the vineyard of the Lord, according to the image of this Sunday's Gospel (cf. Matthew 20:1-16).

Humble and generous workers, who do not ask any other recompense than participating in the mission of Jesus and the Church. "If living in the body," St. Paul continues, "means working and bearing fruit, I do not know which to choose" (Philippians 1:22): full union with Christ beyond death or service to his mystical body on earth.

Dear friends, the Gospel has transformed the world, and it is still transforming it, like a river that waters a great field. Let us turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary that in the whole Church priestly, religious and lay vocations ripen in service to the new evangelization.

---


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