Today’s new post finds us on a new topic in Evangelii GaudiumFrom this section through #175, Pope Francis addresses his fourth and final topic in Chapter Three, “Evangelization and the Deeper Understanding of the Kerygma.”
What is kerygma? Besides being a very cool Greek word, that is. This word describes the proclamation/preaching action of the Church. The Liturgy of the Word, for example, contains two important facets of kerygma: the reading of the Scriptures and the preaching on them. When Christians see kerygma, they can interpret that as getting the message of Christ out of our heads and hearts, and off the page, and into the active consideration of other people.
160. The Lord’s missionary mandate includes a call to growth in faith: “Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). Hence it is clear that that the first proclamation also calls for ongoing formation and maturation. Evangelization aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. All of us need to grow in Christ. Evangelization should stimulate a desire for this growth, so that each of us can say wholeheartedly: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Evangelization is part of kerygma. It is the direct result of a kerygma addressed to non-believers, seekers, and those seeking to deepen their faith. Kerygma also involves this maturation process to which Pope Francis refers here. As we’ve seen in this and other documents (Porta Fidei and Evangelii Nuntiandi among others), believers are urged to continuing conversion and formation in Christ.
As always, this kerygmatic action is bound to the initiative of Christ. We cooperate with grace. We are open to this continuing development, this life within us. God provides. These will be the points we explore over the next two weeks of posts.