THE GATES OF THE NETHERWORLD

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION

(Part 77)

THE GATES OF THE NETHERWORLD

February 22, 2016

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 16:13-19

Jesus says of his church: “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (v.18b). Many take this to mean that the enemy will assault the Church but she will remain standing. And indeed, our Church has been assaulted over two millennia, but with many kingdoms having come and gone, the Church still stands, strong and vibrant.

But there is a deeper meaning. Gates are fixed in position. They are there for defense and not for offense. Gates do not assault; rather, they are assaulted. So what does it mean that the gates of the enemy will not prevail against the Church? It means that the Church is the one assaulting these gates! And it means that these gates will fall, and the kingdom of the enemy pillaged.

Our Church is evangelistic and missionary. We bring the gospel to the world, and in so doing, engage in spiritual warfare. We try to liberate those who are captives of the enemy within its gates. It is unfortunate that in much of our Church, this aspect of being evangelistic and missionary is no longer understood or practiced. We are more of being in a defensive posture, trying to maintain what we have, while the enemy continues to chip away at us. Indeed, we lose Catholics by the day to the world, to sects and to cults.

The Catholic Church is missionary. She exists for mission. We in CFC-FFL are evangelistic and missionary. We too exist for mission. We are to do rapid and massive evangelization to the ends of the earth. This is in fulfillment of our call and charism.

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