Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 12:5 ff.
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
For decades now there has been much talk of a “New Evangelization” – a summons from the very highest level of the Church. Part of that is simply the recognition of the fact that much of Europe, and other parts of the world, were very thinly baptized, in some cases, armies being simply marched through a river as baptism. The old evangelization of the barbarian peoples largely followed the ancient custom that the household followed the religion of the master of the house – and should the king become Catholic, well then, the national house would become Catholic as well.
No doubt the Holy Spirit was at work here, for gradually, over centuries, the liturgy and sacramental life, the teaching inherent in the beauty of cathedrals and music and general Christian culture were at work forming Catholic cultures. Much of this happened before there were modern means of communication, beginning with the printing press – and so a renewed spreading of the Gospel, with contemporary means of education, was called for. Jesuit Saint Peter Canisius’ Catechism in 16th century Germany could be seen as a move in this direction – echoed in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by St. John Paul II.
The objective foundation of catechesis has been renewed. But I suspect that the truly new evangelization lies ahead of us. We have Bible and catechetical study abounding. Now we need saints, living versions of the Scriptures. We need to know who the saints have been, and then, we need so to love God and others that the world can once again look at Catholics and say: “see how they love one another.” If our love begins to reverberate with that love which is at the heart of the Blessed Trinity and to bring that circulation of love down into the concrete relations of our lives – then the New Evangelization will bring about the revolution the world so desperately needs. The only revolution that counts: the love of God revealed in Christ Crucified and Risen, animating the members of His Body through space and time, all the way home to the Kingdom of the Father.