FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE OLD AND THE NEW
December 29, 2016
Readings for today:
1 John 2:3-11
Evangelization is old, two thousand years old. But today the Spirit calls us to the New Evangelization. It is as John wrote about the commandment of love. “Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. …. And yet I do write a new commandment to you” (1 Jn 2:7a,8a). What is old is new, and what is new is old.
Jesus taught and commanded his disciples to love. They obeyed, and God was able to use them to build His Kingdom on earth. But their fervor to love waned through the years and decades. So it was necessary to reiterate God’s call, pointing to the continuity but freshness of the call.
Jesus came to dispel the darkness. His light expressed in love would accomplish that. As his disciples did likewise, then John could express that “the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (1 Jn 2:8c). Today the darkness has returned, and even intensified.
This is why Christians are called to return to the fervor of their first love. They are to meet Christ anew, then start to live Christ, and work to share Christ. They do this as a body, and so they must love each other as brethren. “Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.” (1 Jn 2:9). Being still in darkness, they become the enemy within.
If and when they truly love one another in the way of Christ, then they can go forth in the power of the Spirit to proclaim the love of God through Jesus to the world. They would be a people who have experienced the salvation of Jesus, and who cannot help but share that salvation with others. Like Simeon they would say, “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Lk 2:30-32a).
This is what the disciples of Jesus did in the first evangelization (the old). This is what they are called to once again do, in the New Evangelization. “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Tell his glory among the nations, among all peoples, his marvelous deeds.” (Ps 96:2-3). The New Evangelization, as in the old, is intended to be a work that is rapid, massive and worldwide.
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