(Part 206)
December 6, 2016
Today’s readings:
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 96:1-3,10-13
Matthew 18:12-14
One of the distinguishing features of the New Evangelization is that evangelization needs to be truly rapid and massive. This is no longer happening in the life and mission of the Church. But it is crucial today, since there are many lost sheep. Jesus said, “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” (Mt 18:12). But today, the lost sheep is not the one but the ninety-nine! How can they be reached? Only through really massive evangelization.
Evangelization is also to be rapid. We are to “proclaim his salvation day after day.” (Ps 96:2b). “A voice says, ‘Proclaim!’” (Is 40:6a). Evangelization is to be worldwide. We are to “tell his glory among the nations, among all peoples, his marvelous deeds.” (Ps 96:3). We are to “declare among the nations: The Lord is king.” (Ps 96:10a).
We proclaim Christ. We are to “prepare the way of the Lord!” (Is 40:3b). So “go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of good news! Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Cry out, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: here is your God!” (Is 40:9). The gospel is good news. We are to proclaim it with vigor.
When we evangelize and bring people back to God and back to the Church, that is cause for great joy, in heaven and on earth. “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice” (Ps 96:11a). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the first to rejoice on the return of his lost sheep. “And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it that over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” (Mt 18:13).
The task of evangelization has been left to us. God already did what was necessary to win our salvation. Now we are sent to proclaim that salvation, so that no one will be lost. “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one on these little ones be lost.” (Mt 18:14).
The New Evangelization has to be truly rapid, massive and worldwide, capable of reaching the over one billion lapsed Catholics.
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