New Things Have Come

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
(Part 143)

NEW THINGS HAVE COME

July 22, 2015

Today’s reading:  2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Today’s short reading contains much that impact on our movement forward in the New Evangelization. The reading contains, if you will, some basic principles of evangelization.

First, it is about the saving work of Jesus, who died on the cross for us. “He indeed died for all” (v.15a). Jesus is Savior. This is the central message of the gospel and is at the core of our proclamation.

Second, it about what happens to us as we accept the saving work of Jesus. It is “so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (v.15b). If God did this for us, then we must respond. We must change, turning away from our old ways. We respond by giving our lives to Jesus, by turning our lives over to him, by living lives of obedience to him. We no longer live for ourselves as we once did. We belong to Jesus, and indeed, we are slaves of Christ.

Third, those of us who know and follow Jesus should want to make him known and followed by others. “For the love of Christ impels us” (v.14a). Jesus loved us to the point of giving his very life for us. We in turn need to grow in loving him with our all. Now Jesus did not just die for us, for for all humankind. God wants everyone to be saved. So we must “come to the conclusion that one died for all” (v.14b).

Thus we do a wide and massive work of evangelization, trying to bring our relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers to Christ. It might be very difficult and challenging, but no one is a hopeless case. “Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh” (v.16a). We know the Holy Spirit can transform anyone, just as in our case. Thus, “even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer.” (v.16b).

This is the wonderful work of the Spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit transforms us, brings us to conversion, turns our lives topsy-turvy for the better, overturns the darkness in our lives and fills us with God’s light. It is a radical make-over. “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away” (v.17a).

In the same vein, the New Evangelization is not just about a renewed effort at evangelization, which certainly remains a part of it. But the work of the Spirit is ever fresh, even radically new. This is why we need to thank and praise God for giving us the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) movement as our gift to our Church. We need to expand our vision and let God show us the way. Let us not hold on to past glories and persist in doing things the old, tried and even tested way. Know the reality: “behold, new things have come.” (v.17b).

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