Friday, October 26, 2012

Moving Hearts -- The New Evangelization

Spreading the Gospel is the mission of the Church.  Each year the next-to-last  Sunday of October, the month of harvest, is Mission Sunday, during which we hear sermons on ways to carry out this mission.  On this Sunday all collections are sent to Rome and distributed to the areas of the world most in need.

It's also a time to reflect on the need for mission work and how we can help in this harvesting.  What is in question is not the mandate but how to put it into practice. The columnist of
View from the Ark, in the Catholic Times, feels  using words to carry out this mandate no longer has the results  it once did in the early days of the Church.

In the time of Jesus, for the most part, words were the only way to  express our thoughts; this is no longer the case. Today it can be done in many ways: with our hands and feet, our music, books, pictures, and films, our poetry and the internet, among many other possibilities. He feels the printed page, although important, no longer influences us as much as it did in the past; the electronic revolution has changed all that.

Because of the  enormous amount of information we have to deal with today, it's becoming difficult to  distinguish what's true from what's false, and so we tend to question whatever we hear and read, often adopting a doubting attitude about everything. Because of this tendency, the  columnist feels that the influence of words to change our lives is greatly reduced.

So what do we do? he asks. In Korea we say "Confucius said," or "Mencius said," but what does that mean if we do not act and live by what is being said. This is true also of the words of the Gospel, which we aspire to make known to all.

The bishops of Japan made a study of this problem and concluded that in the Japanese and Korean cultures words have li
ttle to do with the way we act. Actions, the examples of others, are what moves and inspires us to want to change.

Two men who lived what they preached, according to the columnist, and influenced the lives of many were Fr. Lee Tae Seok and Cardinal Kim. The documentary on the life of Fr. Lee in the Sudan moved many people, and Cardinal Kim's visits to refugee villages, saying Mass at the Seoul City dump, spending time at Easter with women prostitutes and with those in prison moved the hearts of many.  It is this kind of evangelizing that should be the focus of our present concerns. Moving hearts, says the columnist, is what the new evangelization is all about.

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