Earlier this week, Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, and had three challenges for all baptized people: to witness, to go out and encounter others, and to focus on the essential.
Let his words lead us to reflect on the Scriptures, pray, and then act on his challenge to be effective evangelizers.
On witness, the Holy Father said:
Faith is a gift of God, but it is important that we Christians show that we live the faith in a concrete way, through love, concord, joy, suffering, because this elicits questions, as at the beginning of the journey of the Church: Why do they live like this? What drives them? These are questions that go to the heart of evangelization, which is the witness of faith and charity. What we need especially in these times are credible witnesses who with their life and also with the word render the Gospel visible, reawaken attraction for Jesus Christ, for God’s beauty.
On encounter, he said:
The New Evangelization is a renewed movement towards him who has lost the faith and the profound meaning of life. This dynamism is part of the great mission of Christ to bring life to the world, the Father’s love to humanity. The Son of God “went out” of his divine condition and came to encounter us. The Church is within this movement; every Christian is called to go out to encounter others, to dialogue with those who do not think the way we do, with those who have another faith, or who don’t have faith. To encounter all because we all have in common our having been created in the image and likeness of God. We can go out to encounter everyone, without fear and without giving up our membership.
And on the essential:
It calls for a common commitment to a pastoral plan that recalls the essential and that is well centered on the essential, namely on Jesus Christ. It is no use to be scattered in so many secondary or superfluous things, but to be concentrated on the fundamental reality, which is the encounter with Christ, with his mercy, with his love, and to love brothers as He loved us. A project animated by the creativity and imagination of the Holy Spirit, who drives us also to follow new ways, with courage and without becoming fossilized!