Evangelii Nuntiandi 29: In a Personal and Modern World

By necessity, evangelization takes place in a setting both personal for the seekers and in a world climate of very real, if slowly shifting concerns:

29. But evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of (a person’s) concrete life, both personal and social. This is why evangelization involves an explicit message, adapted to the different situations constantly being realized, about the rights and duties of every human being, about family life without which personal growth and development is hardly possible,[Cf. Gaudium et Spes 47-52; Humanae Vitae] about life in society, about international life, peace, justice and development- a message especially energetic today about liberation.

Jesus knew the people of his time. We must also, if we hope to be effective evangelizers.

Every seeker lives in a setting of personal concerns, and also interacts with loved ones, people of work and play and/or learning, and in a neighborhood or political sphere. These matters influence life. And life is where God meets us.

Pope Paul’s citation of “international life, peace, justice and development” is rightly connected to “liberation.” It’s as much true today as it was almost forty years ago. It will likely never change. Seekers and non-believers want to know what Christian hope has to say about these factors that weigh so heavily on human life. Is it enough that Christ and tradition point to the afterlife? I don’t think so. That wasn’t the main thrust of Jesus’ message. And while it serves as part of the inspiration of the Gospel message, it isn’t the whole message.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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