Redemptoris Missio 86: A New Springtime

Optimism underscores Pope John Paul II’s vision for the future. How else could he write that “God Is Preparing a New Springtime for the Gospel”?

If we look at today’s world, we are struck by many negative factors that can lead to pessimism. But this feeling is unjustified: we have faith in God our Father and Lord, in his goodness and mercy.

Yet, pessimism can be understandable. Hundreds of millions of human beings lack faith. For many believers, faith is weak or misled by faithless leadership. Still, there are hopeful signs outside of the Church, as the pope admitted thirty years ago. Would he say the same today?

As the third millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs. In fact, both in the non-Christian world and in the traditionally Christian world, people are gradually drawing closer to gospel ideals and values, a development which the Church seeks to encourage. Today in fact there is a new consensus among peoples about these values: the rejection of violence and war; respect for the human person and for human rights; the desire for freedom, justice and brotherhood; the surmounting of different forms of racism and nationalism; the affirmation of the dignity and role of women.

We have a new evangelization because we’ve gotten fatigued with, in part, the old effort, thinking our task is done.

Christian hope sustains us in committing ourselves fully to the new evangelization and to the worldwide mission, and leads us to pray as Jesus taught us: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10).

A sobering reality:

The number of those awaiting Christ is still immense: the human and cultural groups not yet reached by the Gospel, or for whom the Church is scarcely present, are so widespread as to require the uniting of all the Church’s resources.

True enough. Never before have their been as many non-believers as we have today. One would think we will be more mobilized than just a reaching out to nones. On the other side of Y2K, looking ahead:

As she prepares to celebrate the jubilee of the year 2000, the whole Church is even more committed to a new missionary advent. We must increase our apostolic zeal to pass on to others the light and joy of the faith, and to this high ideal the whole People of God must be educated.

We cannot be content when we consider the millions of our brothers sisters, who like us have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, but who live in ignorance of the love of God. For each believer, as for the entire Church, the missionary task must remain foremost, for it concerns the eternal destiny of humanity and corresponds to God’s mysterious and merciful plan.

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

 

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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