Summary: Despite the many forces arrayed against the Church's mission, we must follow the Gospel command to bring the Word of God to everyone.

Monday of 15th Week in Course

July 16, 2012

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

The Holy Father has announced the year of faith, to begin later this year with the next Synod of Bishops, and he has designated it as a time to dedicate ourselves to the New Evangelization. This may seem untimely. After all, the Church is still reeling, both in the U.S. and Europe, from the clerical abuse scandal. Aggressive secularism and atheism continue unabated–billboards dot our freeways telling Catholics to leave the Church. Isn’t it time to button up, batten down the hatches and ride out the gale?

Hollywood doesn’t think so. They sell garbage, and they sell it aggressively. I’ve been studying TV shows lately. What do we always see on these contemporary dramas and comedies? Hooking up, shacking up and breaking up. There are literally almost no healthy families being portrayed. And virginity is mocked–the one who waits until marriage is shown as a hopeless prude, a loser or someone nobody would want. That’s why people like Tim Tebow are ridiculed in the mainstream. So if they think they can successfully peddle pond scum to our young, why are we afraid to proclaim the Truth?

In a culture like this, a man or woman could find family set against him, could experience rejection or ridicule. The temptation is to “go along to get along.” Jesus tells us not to succumb to that natural tendency. Stick up for the truth, but do it charitably. The easiest way to do so is to point out the built-in contradictions that come with a secular lifestyle. To the child who claims there is no infallible truth, point out that the claim that there is no infallible truth sets itself up as an infallible truth. To the adult who tells you he won’t train his kids in the faith, so they can make up their own mind when they grow up, ask if they have the same opinion on things like playing in traffic, eating a balanced diet, or bedtime?

There is no option to not evangelize. If we fail to spread the truth of Christ, then we are tacitly endorsing the errors of the culture. That’s especially true about members of our family. Always be ready, in love, to point out the Truth. Do it sensitively and it may have a positive effect.

As the Holy Father teaches in his letter: In calling upon all the faithful to proclaim God’s word, the Synod Fathers restated the need in our day too for a decisive commitment to the missio ad gentes. In no way can the Church restrict her pastoral work to the “ordinary maintenance” of those who already know the Gospel of Christ. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community. The Fathers also insisted that the word of God is the saving truth which men and women in every age need to hear. For this reason, it must be explicitly proclaimed. The Church must go out to meet each person in the strength of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 2:5) and continue her prophetic defense of people’s right and freedom to hear the word of God, while constantly seeking out the most effective ways of proclaiming that word, even at the risk of persecution.1. [319] The Church feels duty-bound to proclaim to every man and woman the word that saves

Pope John Paul II, taking up the prophetic words of Pope Paul VI in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, had in a variety of ways reminded the faithful of the need for a new missionary season for the entire people of God.1. [320] At the dawn of the third millennium not only are there still many peoples who have not come to know the Good News, but also a great many Christians who need to have the word of God once more persuasively proclaimed to them, so that they can concretely experience the power of the Gospel. Many of our brothers and sisters are “baptized, but insufficiently evangelized”.[321] In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture.[322] The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by [Bl. John Paul], must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God’s word is effective. The Church, sure of her Lord’s fidelity, never tires of proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and invites all Christians to discover anew the attraction of following Christ.

Is there a tie-in between this missionary work we all, but especially you laity, must do, and our celebration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel? We should remember that one of the two principal patrons of missions is St. Terese of Liseaux, the Little Flower, whose passion was the salvation of the lost. By her prayers, and those of our Lady, we will spread the Gospel message in our age.