16th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

If you discovered a cure for cancer, would you keep it secret? If you developed an absolutely effective way for addicts to be delivered from slavery to drugs and alcohol, would you keep it hidden? If you had knowledge of how to achieve immortality, would you tell no one? Christians who are not proclaiming the Gospel and inviting others to follow the Lord Jesus are hiding the good news of the eternal plan of salvation that frees us from sin and death, and so many Christians — particularly Catholics — are keeping the Gospel secret that our entire civilization is in the process of returning to paganism. The remedy for this accelerating collapse of Christian civilization is simple: evangelization. But how do we do this? How do we proclaim the Gospel?

+ By the way we live. Would a perfect stranger visiting our homes, riding in our cars, observing us at work, listening to our conversations, or examining our relationships and patterns of behavior find any evidence that we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord? Do we serve those in need? Do we love our enemies? Do we forgive those who sin against us when they seek mercy? Do we seek to change sinful habits or just surrender to them? Do we bear witness to the Gospel in the public square, the voting booth, the board room and the bedroom?

+ By the things we think and say. Do we really believe that the Gospel is a supernatural gift of divine revelation to which we are accountable? Do we believe that the Church is Christ’s body in which his messianic authority to teach, sanctify and govern is exercised by the College of Bishops with and under its head, the Bishop of Rome? Do we surrender all of our thoughts and feelings, words and deeds to the judgment of Christ and his Church by shaping our lives according to the Gospel — including, especially, the parts of Catholic teaching we find most difficult to accept?

+ By the way we worship. Do we keep the Lord’s Day holy by participating fully in Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation? Do we pray each day and give our hearts to the Lord? Do we read and study Holy Scripture? Do we take seriously the promises of our Baptism and Marriage? Do we confess our sins regularly in the Sacrament of Penance?

+ By inviting others to follow Christ. Do we share our faith and teach others that Jesus Christ is Lord? Do we ask others to join us in divine worship? Are we ready to be embarrassed by speaking of the deep things of the human heart and the truth of the Gospel? Do we call others to conversion from sin by teaching the more excellent way of divine love revealed by the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Father Newman