"Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional -- rather than as an encounter with Christ -- which explains why they don't see it as a source of joy." - Pope Benedict XVI
Scripture Text: (PS 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10 )
R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. or: R. Alleluia. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name. R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. or: R. Alleluia. Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. or: R. Alleluia. Say among the nations: The LORD is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity. R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. or: R. Alleluia.
The Responsorial Psalm today highlights an important aspect of evangelization. We are commanded to proclaim God’s deeds to ALL the nations. And, if our joy is complete in Christ, as the reading from the gospel of John (Jn 15:9-11) at today’s Mass states, why would we not proclaim the Gospel to others?
Here is another question I would like you to consider. Why does “all the nations “all of a sudden exclude our own nation?
For some reason the current culture in the United States of America, which once proudly sung songs like “God Bless America” is now shying away from the Creator of all things just because a loud but powerful minority have decided that God in the public square has no place and is not “politically correct”. If you told that one to George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, they would have kindly but firmly escorted you to the door.
Because of that, Jesus reminds us today at mass, “Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love” (Jn 15:9-11). Yet, we know that only 23% of U.S. Catholics honor the Lord’s day and regularly attend Mass once a week.
This year, Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus and now the current Holy Father Pope Francis has challenged the entire Church to embrace this re-evangelization of Catholic culture proclaiming that “The Church has a duty everywhere and at all times to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The Church has recognized that the largest need for evangelization is now within formerly Christian nations under the influence of secularism and multiculturalism (the notion that one should keep one’s joy in Christ to oneself).
You may be a faithful Catholic, but chances are that you know many Catholics who may have lost faith or lost the joy of Christ. Therefore remember that proclaiming God’s deeds to all includes proclaiming it to those already in the flock. Invite such a friend or family member to confession or Mass with you. Treat the sacraments not as an everyday occurrence but as a marvelous sign of God’s Grace. Invite others to become more involved with their faith. Send others to www.CatholicsComeHome.com. Challenge yourself to grow in faith.
Always remember, God made no distinctions between any of His children and neither should we. The Gospel is for all people.