New Evangelisation

We are celebrating the resurrection of the Lord. It has been wonderful to have come together in Holy Week and again for the opportunities afforded us in this Easter Week. The most precious moments of living our faith in the Risen Christ are those we celebrate together and which are an experience of our unity in Christ risen.

We are called upon to participate with the Church in the New Evangelisation. Paul VI reminded us in that celebrated document Evangelium Nuntiandi that the process of evangelisation requires that we be living examples of Good News, something which words alone cannot achieve. This theme runs through the documents of the forth coming Synod on the New Evangelisation which will sit in Rome in October this year.

Liturgy which lives and which celebrates the Risen Lord in our daily lives and which marks the triumphs and progress of people of faith in and through their daily lives counteracts the other proclamation of emptiness and death coming from a world that has grown cold and dark because of the absence of the Good News about God.

A simple sign of the triumph of Christ in the human spirit is sharing. The Acts of the Apostles notes this within the very context of the Pentecost experience, noting that those who heard the word proclaimed on that first Pentecost day and were baptised, all lived together

“So those who received (Peter’s) word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:41, 42)

I often bemoan the fact that we sit down so little in each other’s company to share a simple meal, the fruits of the earth and the fruit of our labour. I note this in particular because in all my life as a priest I never ate alone except as an exception. Now it is an exception for me to share the table with someone. It also pains me to notice that even when we are able to share table company we don’t do so.

This is also something which characterises society at large and it would be of interest to correlate the decline in family meals and a decreasing sense of community in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Pope John Paul II on the New Evangelisation

To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “program” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelisation. To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize Him wherever He manifests Himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of His body and His blood.

The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by Him she is fed and by Him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a “mystery of light”. Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “their eyes were opened and they recognized Him” (Lk 24:31). Ecclesia de Eucharistia #6 (2003)