The challenge of the New Evangelization

Two poets for the Synod by Father Robert Imbelli in L'Osservatore Romano

On October 7th the XIIIth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will open in Rome. It is dedicated to the crucial topic of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith.”

The challenge before the Synod is treated at length by the “Instrumentum Laboris” that has been prepared as background to the deliberations and discussions of those attending. Here is a particularly pointed expression of that challenge

“In these times, people are yearning for a principle in life that inspires hope, a hope which will permit them to look to the future with eyes filled with faith and not the tears of despair. As a Church, we have this principle and source of hope — Jesus Christ, who was crucified and is risen, living among us through his Spirit, who allows us to experience God. Nevertheless, we oftentimes seem to be unable to make this hope concrete, or “make it our own”, or make it a life-giving word for ourselves and the people we encounter today, or make it the basis for life in the Church and our pastoral activity” (#166).

The challenge to make our hope concrete, to appropriate it more deeply, to find evocative words that will bring it to life for ourselves and others lies at the heart of the Church’s mission. It is the challenge faced not only by bishops, or preachers, or missionaries, but by the whole people of God.
Certainly, the need for ongoing personal conversion is paramount: a daily turning again to the Lord to be nourished by his Word and Sacrament. Such conversion is the indispensable condition for making the faith our own. We must continue to grow in our appreciation and understanding of the marvelous works of the Lord, of the height and breadth, and length, and depth of the love of Christ.

But the “Instrumentum Laboris” outlines a further challenge, when it suggests the need for forging a new language to communicate the Gospel to the world of today. This difficult task is intrinsic to the notion of a “new” evangelization: not a new content, but a new way of expressing the Good News of Christ within a new social and cultural context.

Read the entire article here: Challenge of the New Evangelization: Two Poets for the Synod