New Evangelization: Returning to First Love

by José Octavio Ruiz Arenas

VATICAN, July 28, 2012 (L’Osservatore Romano) --The new evangelization does not consist in proclaiming a new message different from the one that has always existed, nor in merely using new strategies or boisterous methods to attract people. It is in fact a question of returning to the “first love” mentioned to us in the Book of Revelation when the Church of Ephesus is reproached. The new evangelization must be geared to ensuring that the men and women of this secularized society return to living their happiness in the presence and closeness of God's love in their lives. It is a matter of returning to the freshness of the Gospel, of letting themselves be filled with surprise and wonder by the word of Jesus himself, as happened when he began his public life and the people who heard him asked themselves “What is this? A new teaching!”, and were surprised at Jesus' actions (cf. Mk 1:267).

Jesus' words were not only new but were also effective. The newness was not only in his manner of speaking or acting, but in his very Person; the Word of God made flesh, God bursting into our lives. He is therefore always new for all humanity and, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, his words are ever timely.

So it is that we must seek the newness first of all in the Gospel proclaimed: it is the “Good News”, the joyous announcement of the “coming of the kingdom of God promised over the ages in the Scriptures “ (Lumen Gentium, 5). For this reason when Jesus was born in the humble crib of Bethlehem the Angel said to the shepherds: “Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). Thus the Good News is the proclamation of the paschal mystery of Christ, of his death and Resurrection, which ever since the time of the Apostles the Church has proclaimed with fidelity to the whole world.

José Octavio Ruiz Arenas is Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

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