Thursday, December 20, 2007

How Are They to Believe?

Sherry W does a superb job of distilling Father Cantalamessa's homily, How Are They to Believe In Him of Whom They Have Never Heard?

To proclaim Jesus as one's Lord means to subject to him all the region of our being, to make the Gospel penetrate everything we do. It means, to recall a phrase of the venerated John Paul II, "to open, more than that, to open wide the doors to Christ."

For whom do we work and why do we do so? For ourselves or for Christ, for our glory or for Christ's? It is the best way this Advent to prepare a welcoming crib for Christ who comes at Christmas.

1 comment:

David Nybakke said...

Sherry W's post is most excellent! When I look around, this is the issue - a basic lack of faith even an ignorance of what faith is and then the follow-up knowledge to support "conversion" supported by and in doctrine and dogma. But few seem interested in evangelization - it is as if evangeliztion is not glamourous enough for people - it doesn't grab front page news. To me evangelization is a most vital job in raising up and protecting the church that there is today. (Of course I come at this from a Franciscan spirit of rebuilding and evangelizing the church.)

I thought this part of the article was so telling on us all.

In what, in fact, do those in Europe and other places believe who define themselves "believers?" In the majority of cases, they believe in a supreme being, a creator; they believe in "the beyond."

But this is a deist faith, not yet a Christian faith. Taking into account Karl Barth's well-known distinction, the latter is religion, not yet faith. . . . In practice, Jesus Christ is absent in this type of religiosity. . . .

Suffice it to glance at the New Testament to understand how far away we are, in this case, from the original meaning of the word "faith" in the New Testament. For Paul, the faith that justifies sinners and bestows the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:2), in other words, salvific faith, is faith in Jesus Christ, in his paschal mystery of death and resurrection. Also for John, the faith that "overcomes the world" is faith in Jesus Christ. He writes: "Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5).

His conclusion:

To re-evangelize the post-Christian world it is indispensable, I believe, to know the path followed by the Apostles to evangelize the pre-Christian world!