Monday, April 24, 2017

Reflection 2 on Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi)

            Evangelii Nuntiandi paragraphs 8-16 reiterate themes for which I was hoping when I first read it over 10 years ago, the themes of internal renewal, radical conversion, profound change, evangelization is the essential mission of the Church and is the work of everyone in the Church.

“For the Christian community is never closed in upon itself…only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News. Thus it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole.”

            I have found regeneration to be one dynamic which is almost unique to Christianity. Even some groups who consider themselves Christian may deemphasize or even ignore it. I searched through the websites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and did not find any teachings on regeneration. The only way Christianity can work is for the Church’s members to be regenerated to become creatures who are less prone to sin and prone to turn to God rather than away from Him.

            I have lived my life banking on 2 Corinthians 5:17 Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition (RSVCE) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. I need to be a new creation. The old creation I was before I started letting God transform me and started experiencing continuing conversion was not the kind of creation I wanted to end up being.

            I am reminded of the story of the father who needed to keep his son occupied for a while. He found a picture of the world in a magazine and ripped it into little pieces because he figured his son was not familiar with where in the world the various continents lie. Five minutes later the son came back with the puzzle put together. The father asked his son how he put the map together so quickly, and the son replied, “I found a picture of a man on the other side of the page the map was on. I got the man right and the world came out right.”

            I have always believed we will not be able to solve the problems of the world until we change the problem of the human heart. If we can get the man right we can get the world right. As long as the human is not together, the world will not get together. The only way to get the human right is by getting him linked up with God, and the only way to get linked up with God is to get linked up through and with Jesus Christ.

            I was taught early on I would need to link up to God through Jesus Christ as an act of my will. Paragraph 13 also teaches this. “Those who sincerely accept the Good News, through the power of this acceptance and of shared faith…make up a community which is in turn evangelizing.”

            I won’t name names but I know of a parish wherein the “Time, Talent, and Treasure” document contains no activity I would consider primarily to have a focus on evangelization. Yet Evangelii Nuntiandi teaches evangelization is the essential mission of the Church. “Those who have received the Good News and who have been gathered by it into the community of salvation can and must communicate and spread it.

            The Church “is linked to evangelization in her most intimate being.” “She begins by evangelizing herself…she has a constant need of being evangelized…to retain freshness vigor and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel…evangelized by constant conversion and renewal in order to evangelize the world with credibility.” How often have we heard people in the church have been sacramentalized without first being evangelized? We have seen the sorry results. Confirmation of young people who have no intention of ever coming to Mass is one result I’ve seen most often.

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