Catholic Evangelization Training Center - Training in the NEW Evangelization Evangelization Training
  • Decrease
  • Increase

  My Witness

Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1997

Who will meet the Need?
by Sr. Angeline Bukowiecki, S.N.C.

Sister Angeline How many of us as people of God have stopped to really look at the faces of those around us, the faces of those who go down the aisle of the church to receive Jesus in communion at Mass and return to their pews? How many of us have really looked at these faces, faces that image Christ in his brokenness, Christ in his suffering? How many lonely faces do you see, faces that reflect emptiness, meaninglessness, faces that are crying out for love?

How many of our Catholic people do not really know the Lord whom they receive in communion? How many of our Catholic people know the Lord more as a stranger they have some acquaintance of and would like to know him better? Who will make that possible?

Today, in our society, there is a deep cry within the hearts of men and women for help. There is a longing for something more that they cannot identify. A deep vaccum is felt within the hearts of so many people which nothing can fill except the love of God. People try to fill this emptiness in the wrong places and in the wrong ways. Some try to fill this void by working all the time; some seek to fill it with alcohol or drugs; some through materialism and success; and some through sex and all kinds of immorality. But the emptiness prevails because only the love of God can fill that void. As St. Augustine so aptly puts it: "We have been created for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him."

There are two shocking facts that Johannes Hofinger brings out in his book, Evangelization and Catechesis which should cause us great shame. The first is that two thousand years after the coming of Christ, the vast majority of men and women do not know him or, at least, do not expect anything from him. The second shocking fact, which is even more shameful, consists in our poor response to Jesus. The vast majority of those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, are not really committed to him and to his Gospel. In fact, many believers live as if Jesus had never come into the world. How can we explain these two facts? No explanation can be satisfactory unless we ourselves sincerely admit to our own lack of being sufficiently evangelized.

Pope John Paul II says that many of us have no explicit attachment to Jesus Christ. "They only have the capacity to believe placed within them by baptism and the presence of the Holy Spirit."

Explicit attachment to Jesus Christ is the result of inner conversion, of accepting Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior and Lord. This must always come first. All religious knowledge is first experiential, practical, and internalized, before it becomes speculative. For many Catholics, this is not the way it happened for them. Many Catholics have an intellectual knowledge of Jesus Christ but do not know Jesus in a personal, experiential way. More emphasis was placed on doctrinal faith. That is not to say that doctrinal faith is not important. It is. But, very little emphasis was given to having a personal, relationship with Jesus. Faith is, first of all, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

When we look at the New Testament, we see that the Easter experience, Pentecost, transformed the lives of the apostles. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them, they went from being scared men, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to being bold and courageous men, proclaiming Jesus to their fellow Jews after Pentencost. With the giving of the Holy Spirit, all that Jesus had said and done was now understood by them in a way they had not understood before. What they show us is that it is the personal, experiential knowledge of the risen Lord that leads men and women to commit themselves wholeheartedly to him as Lord and center of their lives.

Through evangelization, through the proclamation of Jesus Christ, a person undergoes a profound, experiential, realization of God's love for him or her. It is a transforming experience that sends that person out to tell others -- family, relatives, friends, neighborhood, co-workers -- about Jesus.

God creates in order to call; he creates for vocation; he creates in order to send, a sending based on the personal realization of his love for me. To know God's personal love for me in a real and experiential way is the foundation for mission.

If we are to meet the need of the world, then each one of us is in need of being re-evangelized. Each one of us is in need of being explicitly attached to Jesus Christ.

How To Contact Us Back Return To Main Menu