This Sunday the Liturgy of the Word helps us reflect on the seed, the sower and the soil in this effort we call evangelization.
US bishops have called for a Convocation of Catholic Leaders – The Joy of the Gospel in America, a huge event which took place a few weeks ago in Orlando, FL. Our Diocese was well represented at this event and I am pretty sure you will hear more about it as our bishop, David Walkowiak, is studying ways of unwrapping and implementing many of those ideas here in our local church.
One of the interventions that drew my attention was Bishop Barron’s about “Equipping evangelizers”. The fastest growing religion in America are the “nones” and statistics tell us that 5 out of 6 Catholics end up feeding this new religious phenomenon. He outlined three challenges and three opportunities that Catholic evangelists are faced with in the current context.
- SCIENTISM, the reduction of all knowledge to the scientific form of knowledge. In today’s culture Faith and science are perceived as opposed to each other, but what the Church opposes is scientism, not science.
- APATHY. “If there is no objective truth, no objective value, what that produces is a culture of ‘meh’, or as the kids say, ‘whatever’” Bishop Barron said.
- The CULTURE OF SELF-DETERMINATION: everything is questionable and everything is up to me to decide . A radical notion of individual freedom which defines identity.
He also identified three great opportunities:
- Presenting an INTELLIGENT TRUTH. “I hate dumbed-down Catholicism,” Bp. Barron emphatically told the audience. “What do I mean by that? It puts a huge stress on the superficial, the ‘banners and balloons Catholicism’ as I call it. We are a smart religion. When we don’t express Catholicism in a smart way, people fall away,” he said.
- The GOODNESS OF RADICAL CHRISTIANS. “When the Christian life is embraced fully and radically, it’s goodness stands out to the world”. He gave the example of Mother Teresa and other saints. Saints have a huge impact.
- AUTHENTIC BEAUTY: “Just show people the beauty of Catholicism”. The authentic, objective beauty of the faith as a great opportunity to evangelize.
What do you think about theses points? Do you see the connection with the parable of the sower, this Sunday’s Gospel? I hope this stirs in our parish, our families, especially with our youth some good conversations. I invite you to check our parish Facebook page for more on this and other similar topics.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Peter Damian