The work of building up the Body of Christ has been entrusted to all of us in the Church. Today a vital demand for evangelization certainly exists. This can take a variety of forms. There are many ways of serving the Gospel. Despite scientific and technological progress, which actually reflects a sort of human cooperation in God's creative work, the Faith is challenged and even directly opposed by ideologies and life-styles recognizing neither God nor the moral law.
The fundamental human and Christian values are put in question by criminality, violence and terrorism. Honesty and justice in the work-place and in public life are often violated. All over the world vast sums are being spent on armaments, while millions of poor people struggle for the barest necessities of life. Alcoholism and drug addiction lay a heavy tribute on the individual and on society. The commercial exploitation of sex through pornography is an insult to human dignity and a danger to the future of the young. Family life is being subjected to strong pressures, now that many people mistakenly regard fornication, adultery, divorce and contraception as acceptable. Unborn children are cruelly put to death, and the lives of the aged are gravely endangered by a mentality that would be happy to fling wide the door to euthanasia.
Faced with all this, the Christian faithful should not allow themselves to be discouraged, nor should they conform to the spirit of the world. On the contrary, they are called to recognize the supremacy of God and of his law, to make their voices heard and to unite their efforts on behalf of moral values, to set society an example by their own right conduct and to help the needy. Christians are called to act, in the serene conviction that grace is more powerful than sin, thanks to the victory of the Cross of Christ.
Christ's Cross has bought us freedom from the slavery of sin an,d death. This freedom, this liberation, is so fundamental and all-embracing as to demand a freedom from all the other forms of slavery which are bound up with the introduction of sin into the world.
This liberation insists that we struggle against poverty. And it requires all who belong to Christ to commit themselves to making tenacious efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the poor. Yes, the Church's evangelizing mission includes energetic and sustained action to achieve justice, peace and over-all human development. Not to perform these tasks would be to fail in the work of evangelization; it would be to betray the example set by Christ, who came 'to bring good news to the poor' (Luke 4:18); it would in fact be to reject the results of the Incarnation, in which 'the Word became flesh' (John 2:14).
Like a good mother, the Church loves everyone: children, young people, the aged, workers, the homeless, the starving, the handicapped, those who suffer in spirit, and those who acknowledge their sins and so, through her, experience the healing touch of Christ. To such, but particularly to the poor, the Church offers the Good News of the human and supernatural dignity of the human person. In Christ, we have been raised to the state of children of God.
We are God's children, called to live in dignity in this world and destined to eternal life. The Church is the home of poor and rich alike, 'for there is no favouritism with God' (Galatians 2:61). Yet each community in the Church should make a particular effort to make the poor feel absolutely at home in it.
The Church demonstrates her vitality through the broadness of her charity. There can be no greater disaster for her than for her love to grow weak. The Church should spare no efforts in demonstrating her compassion for the neediest and for all victims of pain, by alleviating their sufferings, by serving them and by helping them to give a salvific meaning to their sufferings.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
6 days ago