Let’s wrap up Evangelii Nuntiandi 15:
- The Church is the depositary of the Good News to be proclaimed. The promises of the New Alliance in Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Lord and the apostles, the Word of life, the sources of grace and of God’s loving kindness, the path of salvation – all these things have been entrusted to her. It is the content of the Gospel, and therefore of evangelization, that she preserves as a precious living heritage, not in order to keep it hidden but to communicate it.
A spirit of generosity appropriately accompanies the Church’s possession and distribution of spiritual treasure.
- Having been sent and evangelized, the Church herself sends out evangelizers. She puts on their lips the saving Word, she explains to them the message of which she herself is the depositary, she gives them the mandate which she herself has received and she sends them out to preach. To preach not their own selves or their personal ideas,[Cf. 2 Cor 4:5; Saint Augustine Sermo XLVI, De Pastoribus: ccl XLI, pp. 529-530] but a Gospel of which neither she nor they are the absolute masters and owners, to dispose of it as they wish, but a Gospel of which they are the ministers, in order to pass it on with complete fidelity.
On this last of four points, we are reminded that evangelical ministers are sent, lay and ordained, to preach Christ and to communicate Christ.
For the activist Catholic Right, two consecutive bad words in the title of this section. It’s a reminder that God gathers a group of people, an assembly, and that God is unlimited by any human expectations. That said, church buildings exist as a witness. they are a sign to believers and non-believers alike. The GIRM states the importance of fostering the “gathered assembly” in baptismal unity (not uniformity):
§ 50 § The church building is a sign and reminder of the immanence and transcendence of God—who chose to dwell among us and whose presence cannot be contained or limited to any single place. Worship is the loving response of God’s People to the mystery of God who is with us and who is yet to come. “As visible constructions, churches are signs of the pilgrim church on earth; they are images that proclaim the heavenly Jerusalem, places in which are actualized the mystery of the communion between (people) and God.”(CDWDS, Circular Letter on Concerts in Churches 5) In addition, the church building manifests the baptismal unity of all who gather for the celebration of liturgy and “conveys the image of the gathered assembly.”(GIRM 294) While various places “express a hierarchical arrangement and the diversity of functions,” those places “should at the same time form a deep and organic unity, clearly expressive of the unity of the entire holy people.”(GIRM 294)
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.