Sunday, Aug 7, 2022
A Reflection on All Things New
The Archdiocesan strategic plan All Things New considers several “First Principles”. One of those First Principles is this: we need new and innovative ways to preach the Gospel to three groups of people: (1) Engaged and Sacramental Catholics, (2) non-Catholics/Christians, and (3) those who have, for whatever reason, officially left the Church, have stopped going to church, or have otherwise chosen to disengage from the Church community. No matter how you slice it, this is a big number. And it’s a big problem. Even the number of engaged or Sacramental Catholics is decreasing and this is dangerous harbinger of the future.
I want to reflect on more dimension of this very complex reality. I want to reflect on the Message that is preached. The Message, the Gospel, the Creed (in Greek, known as the Kerygma). What is the Message, the Creed, the Gospel that is preached? What is it that is supposed to touch and charge and nourish our hearts?
The Kerygma is the central reality of our Christian Faith. It goes something like this: we inhabit a broken world, full of woundedness and chaos. And because we’re human, we not only inhabit that world, but we also contribute to that woundedness and chaos. God the Father, however, fashioned a remedy in His Son, Jesus Christ. He redeemed and repaired that woundedness and chaos not only in the world, but, for those who accept Him, the woundedness and chaos in each one of us. He then calls us to walk the Gospel Way of Life, the Way of the Cross, join the Church and both receive and participate in the Renewal, the Recovery, the Repair of that the Woundedness and Chaos. Life in Christ and in His Church is a Life of Order and Hope both on this earth and in the Eternal Life to Come.
This, in a nutshell, is the Kerygma.
David Rempe, a parishioner who does our RCIA program uses Fr. John Riccardo’s definition:
- Created (for Heaven and Holiness)
- Captured (by Sin)
- Rescued (by Jesus)
- Response (to Him!)
Jimmy Vreeland, a parishioner who’s the Spiritual Companion for the Men’s ACTS Team, sums it up this way:
- We are created in God’s image and likeness
- Sin is why we live in a fallen state
- God sent Jesus to draw us out of that fallen state
- We need to partner with Him and convert of our lives
- We’re invited into the church which makes this conversion possible.
So, this can all get a bit complicated and I could spend all kinds of time talking about it, but suffice it here to say my point is this: THIS MEANS SOMETHING! STILL! NOW! ALWAYS!!
Life in the 21st Century is pretty darn good. We’ve got a lot and plenty of it! But there is also still the absolute NEED (and DESIRE in the Human Heart!) to hear this Message from Jesus. I had a realization, an insight, while I was on vacation: it doesn’t really matter what happens with All Things New. It’s doesn’t really matter what happens out in the world and those who refuse to hear the Message. You and I have two jobs:
- To receive the Kerygma for ourselves.
- To proclaim the Kerygma to others and invite them to #1 above
That’s what ALL THINGS NEW IS ALL ABOUT! We’ve never done this before. We’ve been relying on a steady stream of the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers to keep it all going and that ain’t going to work for much longer. It’s time to shake it up! Time to change the tune! Time to up the ante.
So, here it is: my name is [your name]. I am a sinner and a beloved [Son or Daughter] of God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and my [Brother or Sister] by Baptism. His Death and Resurrection has rescued me from Death. This is Gift and Jesus now invites me to follow Him, the Giver of the Gift by a Way of Life that leads to Eternal Life and Happiness. Jesus welcomed me into His Catholic Church to show me how to Walk this Way all the while providing the Means, through the Church, to walk the very Way itself. This is a Mystery not meant to be solved but in which to enter. This all MEANS something and I am called to discover that meaning, accept it, make it my own and hang on to it all the way to the Promises that God makes to His people.
Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.