FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
NEW WINE, NEW WINESKIN, NEW EVANGELIZATION
July 2, 2016
Today’s gospel: Matthew 9:14-17
People in Jesus’ time kept wine in wineskins. New wine would continually be produced, but used wineskins would not be recycled. New wineskins would be used. This was for practical purposes. “People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.” (v.17a).
Evangelization has been with us from the start of the Church on the day of Pentecost. Through two millennia, the Church has been evangelizing, using its methodologies, parish ministries, Church organizations and movements. Let us look at all of these as the old wineskins. Now the Church has been called by the Spirit to the New Evangelization. This is the new wine. This new wine of the New Evangelization cannot just be put in the old wineskins of current Church programs, methodologies, ministries and organizations.
If the New Evangelization is the new wine, what then would be the new wineskin? What could contain the new wine and help it to improve with age? What wineskin can contain the new wine without bursting and wasting the new wine. How would the new wine be wasted? It would be wasted if we only made use of old wineskins, that is, all the current programs, ministries, orgs, etc. This is what we have been doing for the past decades, but we are losing Catholics by the day, and the Church is weakening and getting smaller. Einstein defines “insanity” as doing the same things over and over again but expecting a different result. If we just do what we have been doing, can we realistically hope to reverse the trend?
This is why there is a need for a new wineskin, to accommodate the new wine of the New Evangelization. So what is that new wineskin? First, wine is wine and a wineskin is a wineskin. Evangelization is 2,000 year old. The New Evangelization is still evangelization. So we look at what worked. Evangelization started on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples, and then Peter preached one sermon and 3,000 people were converted. From then, the Church spread rapidly and massively, and in a few centuries had converted the whole known civilized world. The New Evangelization is going back to the principles and methodologies of Pentecost. That is the winning formula.
What will make the difference for the New Evangelization (remember, wine is wine and a wineskin is a wineskin) is the new wineskin. Our evangelization today cannot be accomplished just by tapping the present methodologies and doing the same things over and over again.
So again, what is that new wineskin? One new wineskin is LCSC. Without expanding on it now [you will need to read the book The Live Christ, Share Christ Movement (2nd Edition)], LCSC puts aspects of wineskins together to make for a new wineskin. These are:
- A vision for the New Evangelization.
- A way for Catholics to become true Christians, by meeting, living and sharing Christ.
- A way to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization.
- Engaging and empowering the laity in the mission of the Church.
- Doing really massive evangelization, going to the grassroots and peripheries, to reach the 99 lost sheep.
- Looking to the spirituality and methodology of Pentecost.
- Having a vision for parishes.
- A way to respond to the call to holiness and authentic discipleship.
- Engaging the whole Church, achieving unity in diversity.
The new wine is the New Evangelization. The new wineskin is LCSC. “Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” (v.17b).
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