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IMAGINING A RE-EVANGELIZED CHURCH

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IMAGINING A RE-EVANGELIZED CHURCH

 By Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

 

In recent months, many people have been discussing the document “The New Evangelization”, and attempting to define what a church newly-evangelized might look like and what it will call us to. The concept needs to be defined more clearly and then put into practice. It is not a new concept. The early followers of Jesus were commissioned to preach the Gospel even to the ends of the earth. Since that time, missionaries have brought the Gospel message to distant lands and different cultures. In our time, we are invited to reclaim that initial invitation of Jesus and bring the Good News to our world, often marred by violence, war and a secularized society. We asked ourselves, “What would a re-evangelized church/faith community look like?” That may help us articulate and plan our response.   

 

Such a church/faith community would be led and nurtured by the Spirit. For that to happen, members would need to create a clear path for the Spirit to work in and through them individually and communally and motivate them to be bearers of the Good News and to be true disciples of Jesus. Church leaders would facilitate faith sharing, times of prayer, contemplation and scripture-study, and ways to apply them in response to the needs of the times.  Good preaching would be provided for Sunday liturgies and other occasions. The church cannot successfully transform culture without first transforming itself. Gandhi said: “We must be the change we want to see happen.”  Children and families need to be prepared for faith formation and living their faith wherever they will be.

 

A renewed church would be dedicated to working for justice and peace and creating a culture of non-violence in both public and private life. Action steps are needed to pursue peace with diligence, persistence and hope. There are many ways to address justice issues such as racism, classism, treatment of immigrants, human trafficking, worker rights and many more. This will take study, listening to struggling and suffering people, to learn from them and to see what action steps are needed to restore justice and peace. Members will work at discerning the TRUTH in a world often steeped in falsehood and naming the truth and speaking it boldly to people in power. Start with small groups and people of all ages and discuss ways that the truth can be put into practice in our day, and look at the issues facing us and name what needs to be changed in order to conform to God’s plan for our world.

 

To accomplish the mission, acknowledge the gifts of all the members, male and female and people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Provide adequate training for them and open a door of opportunity for them to use their gifts to transform church and world. In order to accomplish this, we need to listen to them, hear their concerns and what would be helpful to enable them to fulfill their mission in church and society. Churches are now exploring ways to meet the growing needs in parishes at a time when there is a great shortage of priests, and many people are leaving the church for lack of spiritual food.  Others, especially youth, are seeking ways to live their faith in meaningful ways and use their gifts to help people living in poverty and in dire need.

 

Ongoing formation is needed for members of faith communities so that they can proclaim the Gospel not only by their words, but especially by the witness of their lives. It is the responsibility of all of us to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 Welcoming people of other cultures is also very important.. We can learn from their ways of expressing their faith and help them to put their faith into practice wherever they are.  Let us ask ourselves :”Do we welcome people of other cultures, treat them with respect  and help them express their hopes, dreams and use their gifts and create communities for the good of all?  Practice of civil discourse can be a tool for healing and understanding in public and private life.  

 

 All members are invited to center their lives in prayer and the guidance of the Spirit. Then great things can be accomplished. All need to strengthen and share their belief that another world is indeed possible – a world or peace and justice and non-violence,  and be prepared to continue the struggle with courage, conviction and hope. “Let there peace on earth and let it begin with me.” No effort is too small to make a difference.

 


Preaching Essay Archive

Just click on an Essay title below to read it.
(The latest submissions are listed first.)

• The Journey Through Lent •
• A New Year - A Time To Choose •
• Called To Continue Our Journey As Peacemakers •
• CALLED TO NAME •
• CHOOSING HOPE IN TIMES OF DARKNESS AND CHALLENGE •
• Easter: A Call To Renew Our Faith •
• Fan Into Flame •
• Grieving Our Losses •
• IMAGINING A RE-EVANGELIZED CHURCH •
• The Importance of Inter-Religious Sharing •
• THE PROMISE OF EASTER –“ THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT IN ABUNDANCE.” •
• Are We Living In Pentecost Times? •
• Living With Gratitude and Hope •
• “Lumen Fidei” – the Call and the Challenge •
• What is the "New Evangelization"? •
• Pentecost •
• PRAYER OF PREACHERS •
• Inculturated Liturgy Challenges Preaching to Flower •
• Preaching Lent - Year C •
• Preaching Luke •
• Preaching Mark •
• Reflection - Psalm 127 •
• Reaching Youth Today •
• The Need To Reclaim And Live With Moral Courage •
• The Sacred Triduum •
• STRENGTHEN OUR HOPE TO REPAIR A BROKEN WORLD •
• Welcoming the Stranger •
• Working for Peace •

Blessings on your preaching.


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