Teaching Behold God is doing something New Part 3

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What is the new thing God is doing in our lives? What is the Spirit saying to the Church of the 21st Century?

We believe that God spoke one word. Jesus

"In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets;in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs." (Heb 1:1-4)

Jesus gave us the gift of his Spirit to understand, appropriate and to act on the word of God as it applies to our lives today.

I believe that the vision of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church is made clearer in the teaching of the Magisterium, especially in the messages of the Holy Fathers to the Church. I believe that we need to hear the word of the Spirit within the context of what is happening in our culture and society. The signs of the times speak of a need for a return in a fresh new way to the basic values set forth in the Gospels and the other NT writings.

Call to holiness and transformation
Call to revival
Call to New Evangelization

1 Call to holiness and personal transformation

At the beginning of this century, JPII issued his Pastoral Letter, "NOVO MILLENNIO INEUNTE"

One of the ten points he said that we need to focus on as we move into this century was holiness.
"all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness. "

"All the Christian faithful, of whatever state or rank, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity".16

"The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction. It is also clear however that the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine "training in holiness", adapted to people's needs. This training must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance, as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church."

This holiness is reflected in the second emphasis he made that of prayer.

"This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer."

"Is it not one of the "signs of the times" that in today's world, despite widespread secularization, there is a widespread demand for spirituality, a demand which expresses itself in large part as a renewed need for prayer?"

"Yes, dear brothers and sisters, our Christian communities must become genuine "schools" of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly "falls in love". Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God's plan."

2 Revival
Jesus said: ""I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!"" (Lk 12:39).

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire. (Teilhard de Chardin)

A " personal encounter with the Lord will also bring a renewal of the Church" JPII

Baptism in water--entrance into divine life; we become temples of the Holy Spirit, children of God and members of the faith community; we are born again; the baptism of regeneration.

Baptism in the Spirit--there is an effusion of the Spirit, in which a new infilling of the Spirit occurs; we are empowered by the Spirit with the spiritual gifts to bear witness to Jesus; we become co-workers with the Spirit in the building of the Body of Christ; the doorway to the fullness of God; the baptism of power.

Baptism in fire--growing in the deeper life of the Spiirt; baptism of perfection or fullness through yielding oneself to the work of the Spirit which is holiness;

"May (God) strengthen you inwardly through the working of his Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundaiton of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself" (Eph 3:16-19). It is God's call that "we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God's Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature" (Eph 4:13).


The Spirit renews us so that we can be a catalyst for renewal in others; through this process the Spirit likewise brings about revival. The fire of revival is what Jesus may have had in mind when he said: "I have come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were ignited!" (Lk 12:50) Revival is the abundance of a hundredfold that the seed which fell on good soil produced. The fire of revival is the symbol of the six stone water jars which Jesus changed into the choicest of wine. The fire of revival is seen when on Pentecost three thousand were baptized after hearing the simple, straightforward, strong proclamation of the Word of God by Peter. The fire of revival was experienced in the world as Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Francis Xavier and others like them both men and women proclaimed the saving message of Jesus Christ to a spiritually starved world.

The fire of Revival is what God desires today in our times. He wants to set this secularistic and consummeristic world dead through sin, this fad seeking new-age world drawn to the occult, this humanistic-centered world, this war scarred, crime infected, sexually abusive and rampant violent world-- he wants to set it ablaze with the power and presence of his Spirit as he did on that first Pentecost. He wants us to likewise desire such a revival, crying out: Let the fire fall! Even more. He wants us to prepare ourselves and to enlist in the fire of revival which he has already called forth in these last days. The prophesy of Ezekiel is being fulfilled even in our own times. God is raising up a vast army from what was at one time dead bones scattered over a vast field. He is doing this by breathing into what was lifeless the life-breath of his Spirit. The prophesy of Joel is likewise being fulfilled in our day. God is pouring out his Spirit in a new way over young and old, servants and handmaids as they call upon his name and yield their lives to do his will.

the words of Metropolitan Ignatios of Latakia:

"Without the Holy Spirit, God is far away/ Christ stays in the past,/ the Gospel is a dead letter, the church is simply an organization,/ authority a matter of propaganda,/ the liturgy no more than an evocation,/ Christian living a slave morality. But in the Holy Spirit (when people have experienced the Baptism in the Spirit and living in this reality) the cosmos is resurrected and groans with the birth-pangs of the kingdom,/ the risen Christ is there,/ the Gospel is the power of life,/ the church shows forth life of the Trinity,/ authority is a liberating service,/ mission is a Pentecost,/ the liturgy is both memorial and anticipation,/ human action is deified."

Let us be who we are called to be: Baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. Filled with the Spirit, let us act in the power and fire of love as zealous men of God. Let us go forth with the anointing of the Spirit to bring forth the Kingdom of God with signs and wonders as our credentials. Let us be the blaze that brings about the spiritual revival envisioned and willed by God. Let it begin in us. Let it begin now. Amen. Alleluia.

3. New Evangelization

Benedict XVI has set the theme for the Synod of Bishops in 2012 as the New Evangelization.

The mission of the Church in America is this New Evangelization JPII

"In accepting this mission, everyone should keep in mind that the vital core of the new evangelization must be a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the person of Jesus Christ, that is, the preaching of his name, his teaching, his life, his promises and the Kingdom which he has gained for us by his Paschal Mystery. " JPII

"At this moment in the Church's history, the Charismatic Renewal can play a significant role in promoting the much-needed defense of Christian life in societies where secularism and materialism have weakened many people's ability to respond to the Spirit and to discern God's loving call. Your contribution to the re-evangelization of society will be made in the first place by personal witness to the indwelling Spirit and by showing forth His presence through works of holiness and solidarity. "The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission" (Redemptoris Missio, 42). What more effective means can there be for drawing those who have lost their spiritual bearings towards that truth which alone can calm the restlessness of the human heart than the living example of fervent Christian believers? To bear witness is to be a powerful leaven among people who perhaps do not fully recognize the value of the salvation that only Jesus Christ can offer". " JPII Mar 1992

"a commitment not to a re-evangelization but to a new evangelization —— new in ardor, methods and expression.

"the program of evangelization, embracing today's world in all its diversity, must take different shape in the light of two quite different situations: on the one hand, the situation of countries strongly affected by secularization, and, on the other, the situation of countries where there are still ""many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religiosity""

Benedict established THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING THE NEW EVANGELIZATION.

Paul VI noted that the task of evangelization, ""as a result of the frequent situations of dechristianization in our day, also proves equally necessary for innumerable people who have been baptized but who live quite outside Christian life, for simple people who have a certain faith but an imperfect knowledge of the foundations of that faith, for intellectuals who feel the need to know Jesus Christ in a light different from the instruction they received as children, and for many others"" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 52). Moreover, having in mind those distant from the faith, he added that the evangelizing action of the Church ""must constantly seek the proper means and language for presenting, or representing, to them God’’s revelation and faith in Jesus Christ"" (ibid., n. 56). 

""Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism." JPII

We are called to be part of this new evangelization.

We will not change the world, but we can make a difference in this starfish.

Evangelization is described this way. It is not just giving bread to the beggar but showing the beggar how to bake the bread.

"New evangelization means: never being satisfied with the fact that from the grain of mustard seed, the great tree of the Universal Church grew; never thinking that the fact that different birds may find place among its branches can suffice——rather, it means to dare, once again and with the humility of the small grain, to leave up to God the when and how it will grow (Mark 4:26-29)." Benedict XVI

Conversion

The Kingdom of God

Jesus Christ

"Evangelization will always contain
as the foundation, centre and, at the same time,
the summit of its dynamism
-- a clear proclamation that,
in Jesus Christ salvation is offered to all men,
as a gift of God's grace and mercy."
"The new evangelization," according to John Paul II,
"is not a matter of merely passing on doctrine
but rather of a personal and
profound meeting with the Savior."

Eternal Life

The mission to the nations
is incumbent upon the entire People of God
. . . missionary activity which is carried out
in a wide variety of ways,
is the task of all the Christian faithful."
"Missionary activity is a matter for all Christians..."

the new evangelizationis is very much tied up with
"entering a new missionary age,
which will become a radiant day
bearing an abundant harvest,
if all Christians . . .
respond with generosity and holiness
to the calls and challenges of our time."

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