the gospel, ever fresh and ever new

An Advent Journey with Pope Francis and Evangelii Gaudium, Part 3

Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. (Evangelii Gaudium, 11.)

INOVIX DIGITAL STILL CAMERAWe live in a time of constant change and newness. We want to be amazed!

We eagerly await the unveiling of each new generation of cell phones. We praise the creativity of the geniuses who bring these marvels to us. Their basic purpose remains the same – communication. But, they are no longer a single task item. These technological wonders hold an ever increasing amount of potential and we can’t wait to tap into it. Remember what clunkers the first cell phones were? Can you imagine walking around with one today?

So, why are we content with a “same old” approach to our Christian faith? Why aren’t we seeking newer and better ways to embrace and proclaim the gospel message?

Pope Francis writes,

Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”. (EG, 11)

This spirit of newness was at the core of Vatican II, inviting fresh air to blow through musty ecclesial halls and minds. The Church was called to let go of her role as staunch defender of past traditions and to open wide her windows to the gifts and challenges of the modern world. Sadly, we have seen this spirit stifled in recent years with an almost obsessive insistence on uniformity and a return to languages and symbols of the distant past. It is difficult to promote a message that is ever new when we insist that it be presented in old wine skins.

Recovering the “original freshness of the Gospel” is a wonderful challenge as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. When we hear the familiar scriptures, will we be yearning to reclaim the feelings and emotions of days gone by? Or, will our minds and hearts be open to delve ever deeper into the mystery and message of the Incarnation? How can we creatively and eloquently share the true meaning and joy of Christmas with others? Are we brave enough to embrace new ways for new times?

4 thoughts on “the gospel, ever fresh and ever new

  1. There is such hope in the Incarnation we celebrate in twenty days, I mean think of it…”God is with us!” How can that not inspire hope as well as confidence. Pope Francis quotes St. Irenaeus…”By his coming, Christ brought with him all newness”. Your writings always inspire me to think anew; more deeply; and, to challenge myself. Today I am challenged to think of “new” ways I can share the hope I have in Christ with others so that they may experience the joy I have discovered. Thanks Isabella, you are such a gifted writer!

  2. Has there ever been a Pope that expresses his vision for the Church with language and images so relatable to us simple yet dedicated disciples? At lunch today I read… “Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to follow”, and an evangelizing community “cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds”. Great stuff.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Your faith, so constant and filled with joy, is an inspiration to both David and me. You are truly a gifted evangelizer…though you don’t smell sheepy at all! Haha! But, seriously, I agree wholeheartedly about Francis’s gift of verbal simplicity. His down to earth images speak volumes more than the dense, theological treatises that we were used to. He’s the man….and turning 77 on December 17th! I hope and pray that our loving God will grace him with many more years of life.

  4. Thanks Isabella, I have friends in stewardship from other traditions, one an Anglican priest who calls me the “Evangelical Roman Catholic” I like that! Amen on both counts, one, that we get to see Francis celebrate his 87th, and, two… that I don’t smell sheepy! lol!

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