THE SERVANT GENERAL
UNDERSTANDING THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
December 11, 2018
To address the growing challenges to the faith in this third
millennium, the Holy Spirit has called for the New Evangelization.
Unfortunately, most Catholics have not heard about it, or
do not know about it, or do not understand it. Thus our Church
is missing a great opportunity for an outpouring of grace
and a much-desired revival.
what ways do we not understand what is the New Evangelization?
Or put another way, in what ways has our Church acted, and
still act, that shows this lack of understanding?
being a missionary Church
The New Evangelization is a call to worldwide mission. The
psalmist says, “Tell his glory among the nations, among
all peoples, his marvelous deeds” (Ps 96:3). Our Church
is a missionary Church. She exists for mission. But rather
than continuing to expand her work and reach, she is shrinking.
parishes are not focused on evangelization. If there is evangelization,
it is but one of the different ministries, rather than having
evangelization as the thread that weaves through all the different
parish ministries. Further, evangelization is thought of as
just some programs, mostly focused on formation.
ordinary Catholic does not have knowledge of or a mindset
about evangelization and mission. But this is what a Christian
is supposed to be.
searching for the lost sheep
The New Evangelization is a call to search for and bring back
the lost sheep, those Catholics that are nominal or lapsed.
“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). God does not want anyone
to be lost. “It is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.” (Mt 18:14).
Jesus came to save us. This aspect of faith is of the utmost
today it is not one but the 99 that are lost! There is growing
apostasy in our Church, and we are losing Catholics by the
day. They are being taken by the world, by sects and even
Church attendance is a low single-digit in parts of Europe,
and in the teens for most of the rest of the world. Even in
places where churches are packed on Sunday, many are still
not accounted for, as parishes have no concerted effort to
go to the grassroots at the peripheries.
the first step in evangelization
The New Evangelization emphasizes the kerygma, the proclamation
of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. Every Catholic
is to become an evangelizer. “A voice says, ‘Proclaim!’”
(Is 40:6a). This is the missing first step in the process
of evangelization. It is what leads to repentance and faith
in Jesus. When the gospel is proclaimed, people hear, believe,
call upon the name of the Lord, and are saved. Without this
initial first step, then how can anything else follow?
Church today focuses on many things (important as they are)
such as catechism, sacraments, liturgical feasts, conferences
and social justice, but miss out on evangelization.
of rapid and massive evangelization
The New Evangelization is a call to rapid and massive evangelization.
The psalmist says, “proclaim his salvation day after
day.” (Ps 96:2b). Day after day, each and every day!
Since 99 of the 100 sheep are lost, evangelization must be
rapid and massive. How else are we going to be able to reach
massive work is not in the mindset of many parishes and dioceses.
Much energy is spent in doing many works, but evangelization
happens just every now and then, if at all.
a Church of maintenance
The New Evangelization is a call to mission, searching for
the lost sheep, and not just tending to the flock that remains.
“And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices
more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.”
Church does a good job of caring for the flock that is active
and engaged. There are very many good parish programs, ministries
and support groups. Unfortunately, most Catholics are not
there to partake of the feast that is on the table. They need
to be searched for and brought back to God and back to the
is ironic that our Church focuses on maintenance, but is unable
to maintain our Catholics. We are losing them by the day.
of focus on Christ
The New Evangelization brings us back to a focus on Jesus
the Savior. We are to meet Christ, live Christ, and share
Christ. He is King and Lord. So we “declare among the
nations: The Lord is king.” (Ps 96:10a).
focused on holiness
The New Evangelization is a call to holiness and Christian
perfection. We are to be like God. We are to “bow down
to the Lord, splendid in holiness.” (Ps 96:9a). Holiness
is hardly spoken of today. The ordinary Catholic does not
even know what holiness means. Thus we have many Catholics
who go to Mass and receive Communion, but the rest of the
week are indulging in works of the flesh.
of empowerment by the Spirit for spiritual warfare
The New Evangelization is a call to engage in spiritual warfare
against a powerful enemy, but with the assurance of victory
by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the agent of evangelization.
“Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his
strong arm” (Is 40:10a).
cannot prevail against the evil one just on our own strength.
We need divine power to do divine work. But many today do
not know the Holy Spirit. Many do not even know that when
they evangelize, they are automatically engaged in spiritual
warfare. That makes dependence upon God and His power even
more crucial. Indeed, the call is to be holy warriors.
giving all to the work
The New Evangelization is a call to give our all in the proclamation
of the gospel. “Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem,
herald of good news!” (Is 40:9b). We are to devote the
fullness of our time, gifts and resources to the work.
says that the harvest is rich but the laborers are few. Many
more need to step up and step forward. And those who do so
need to see this mission work as of critical importance, worthy
of giving their all.
of pastoral care and formation
The New Evangelization is a call to care for and protect the
sheep who are already in the sheepfold, as they are under
attack by ravenous wolves, both without and within. “Like
a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the
lambs, carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.”
(Is 40:11). There has to be constant and ongoing formation
and pastoral care.
even our pastors might be going astray. Many are buying into
the culture of death (such as acceptance of contraception
and LGBT). Many dissent from the Church Magisterium. Many
have become liberal or progressive and even modernist. Many
are into political correctness, accompanying and accepting
the sinner but not speaking of his sin. The scandal of homosexual
sin among clerics has caused many lay Catholics to leave the
preparing for the second coming
The New Evangelization is a preparation for the second coming
of Jesus. “In the wilderness prepare the way of the
Lord!” (Is 40:3a). Jesus will come again, “the
Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth, to govern the
world with justice, and the peoples with faithfulness.”
(Ps 96:13). Jesus will bring justice and judgment, and will
extend eternal reward to the holy and faithful remnant.
we are already in the end times, the work is of the utmost
urgency. But many Catholics are engaged in the goings-on of
the secular world, hardly prepared for the day of judgment.
* * *
Some of you may think you already know about the New Evangelization.
But if you are just doing one or two LCSs a year in your parish
or publics, then you have not quite grasped what it is about.
This work needs to be rapid and massive, able to reach the
lost sheep within a shorter period of time.
you lack a sense of urgency, if you are not giving your all,
if you are not striving for holiness, then you have not understood.
The New Evangelization is not just about new programs, but
is a whole new vision for mission. It is putting the ever-creative
new wine of the Spirit into new wineskins.
is much that you need to learn and internalize. The very life
and vibrancy of our Church is at stake. As well as the salvation
of souls. Please read intently and study my new book, “What
is New About the New Evangelization?”
* * *