FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
December 14, 2014
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Metanoia is repentance, and repentance is a change in the way we live our lives, in fact, it is an overturning of values, priorities, ideals, directions. Because all of us grow up in a world that is antagonistic to the faith, and are being brainwashed as to what are acceptable values, the overturning often has to be radical.
Today, even nations’ laws have been changed to accommodate anti-life, anti-family, homosexualist values (not that there is anything of value in these). Abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage are not only legalized, but are being foisted on societies to be accepted as normal. Man has turned away from God. Jesus came in order to bring humankind back to God. In Jesus, once again we are confronted with the truth of our existence and given the grace to live this out. Thus, “while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (Jn 1:17).
Jesus’ work is about such a radical change or overturning. Captives are liberated, prisoners are released, those who mourn are comforted, ashes of mourning are replaced by a diadem and oil of gladness (Is 61:1c,2b-3a). Such is also what Mary proclaimed in her canticle. The lowly are lifted up, the hungry filled with good things, the powerful dethroned, the rich impoverished (Lk 1:52-53).
This is “good news to the afflicted” (Is 61:1b). It is dire warning to the high and mighty, to the oppressors of the poor.
Everything depends on this response to God’s mercy and grace. If we repent and turn our lives to Jesus, then radical change will indeed come, not only to us personally, but to societies and nations. Today the world is in societal and spiritual ruin, urban areas are in decay, Judeo-Christian morality through the generations has been decimated. With repentance, there will be a restoration of God’s intent. “They shall rebuild the ancient ruins, the former wastes they shall raise up and restore the desolate cities, devastations of generation upon generation.” (Is 61:4).
Such repentance results in great overturning of our situations in life.
* Though we live in a valley of tears, we can “rejoice always.” (1 Thes 5:16). No matter what our circumstances in life are, we know we are saved. And our consolation is in the Lord Himself.
* Though we will continue to face problems and even deprivation, we can “in all circumstances give thanks” (1 Thes 5:18a). We look at the many blessings that we receive from day to day, and live in hope.
* Though we are weak human flesh, by the grace of God and the strength from the Holy Spirit, we can “refrain from every kind of evil.” (1 Thes 5:22). We can be holy and strive for Christian perfection (1 Thes 5:23).
God did the most radical act ever. “And the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14a). Then Jesus died for our sins. By this act we are saved. But we need to respond. The response is metanoia. This happens as people meet Christ and live Christ. This in turn happens as others share Christ. This is the work of evangelization. God sent Jesus, Jesus sent His Spirit, and now Jesus through the Holy Spirit sends us to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted” (Is 61:1a-b). This was Jesus’ mission; this is still Jesus’ mission done through us.
Meeting Christ should bring this radical change in us. Living Christ is a radical overturning of how we have lived our lives. This is the work of the New Evangelization.
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