This makes me think… about keeping Jesus at the center of the Year of Faith

Mosaic from Sacre Coeur in France.

[T]he new evangelization requires the capacity to know how to give an explanation of our own faith, showing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the sole savior of humanity. To the extent that we are capable of this, we will be able to offer our contemporaries the response they are awaiting. The new evangelization begins once more from this point, from the conviction that grace acts upon us and transforms us to the point of bringing about a conversion of heart, and of the credibility of our witness. Looking to the future with the certainty of hope is what enables us to remain rooted neither in a sort of romanticism which only looks to the past nor to give way to a utopia because we are bemused by hypotheses which cannot find any confirmation. Faith calls for commitment today while we live; for this reason not to accept it would be a matter of ignorance or fear. However, for us Christians such a reaction is not permitted. Hiding away in our churches might bring us some consolation, but it would render Pentecost vain. It is time to throw open wide the doors and to return to announcing the resurrection of Christ, whose witnesses we are. As the holy bishop Ignatius wrote, “It is not enough to be called Christians; we must be Christians in fact.” If someone today wants to recognize Christians, he must be able to do so not on the basis of their intentions, but on the basis of their commitment in the faith.

It is precisely this commitment in the faith, about which St. Ignatius of Antioch spoke so eloquently at the end of the first century, that the Year of Faith seeks to inspire in the hearts of those who do not know God and seeks to increase in the hearts of those who already believe. The Holy Father, in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei announcing the Year of Faith, beautifully expresses the Year’s aim, its grounding in Christ, and its relationship to the new evangelization. The Year of Faith, which commemorates both the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he notes: “Is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31). For Saint Paul, this Love ushers us into a new life…. Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the resurrection…. ‘Faith working through love’ (Gal 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man’s life. [It] is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth. Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith. In rediscovering his love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigour that can never fade away (Porta Fidei, no. 6).”

~Archbishop Fisichella of Sydney, Austrailia, “Jesus at the Heart of the New Evangelization.”


1 comment on “This makes me think… about keeping Jesus at the center of the Year of Faith

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