EG 22-23: Don’t Fear the Unruliness

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneGod is full of surprises, especially for those who cooperate with him–so says Pope Francis in today’s installment of Evangelii Gaudium.

22. God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.

A very difficult principle for an institution to accept, especially one with a worldwide reach and centuries of bureaucracy in accompaniment. And rules. Lots of rules.

Note that we are called to be faithful first not to his words, but to the Lord’s example:

23. The Church’s closeness to Jesus is part of a common journey; “communion and mission are profoundly interconnected”.[Christifideles Laici 32] In fidelity to the example of the Master, it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. That is what the angel proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people (Lk 2:10). The Book of Revelation speaks of “an eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tongue and tribe and people (Rev 14:6).

The mission of the Gospel, the last commandment of the Lord is intended to engage us in a universal project. And more, we are urged not to hesitate or be afraid. This is a tall order for present-day believers, many of whom  have been conditioned to be suspicious of the wide world. I assume Pope Francis will have encouraging words in the text ahead. We’ll wait for tomorrow to see them.

Meanwhile, any comments?

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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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