Fr. Roy Cimagala
“Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” (1 Cor 9,16) This was the cry of St. Paul conveying his burning desire to transmit the Good News to the early Christians.
It’s a cry that also has to spring in each one of us, Christian believers, who now participate in the abiding function of preaching and teaching the word of God according to our personal circumstances.
This is the challenge we have today. How do we craft a new approach, style or strategy for the continuing need of evangelization these days? How do we keep them adapted to the new sensibilities of the men and women of today? How do we make Christ alive in the new technologies?
It’s quite clear that people nowadays are a different breed from, say, those of two decades ago. In fact, given the fast pace of technological development, the fragmentation of society into different levels, sectors and niches has also accelerated. We now have to contend with a greater variety of people, not only in number but also in complicatedness.
Even within families and clans, these differences have multiplied and can be sharp and radical. Those staying or who have grown up in the States or in Europe, for example, definitely have different ways from those who remain in the province.
We can even see these sharp differences, much more than the usual, among cousins and brothers and sisters. Differences in attitudes, language, fashion, manners, reactions and opinions within relatively small circles of people have ballooned.
We need to be sensitive to these differences if we are to be effective in evangelizing. This, obviously, is an old challenge, felt right during the apostolic times and even way before that. It’s going to be an abiding one. We just have to be ready for it.
For sure, the Holy Spirit continues to animate the Church and inspire certain people, giving them the relevant charism, so that the Church’s vital activity of evangelization continues. But all of us have to do our part.
First, we need to sharpen and intensify our awareness of our duty to evangelize. This task involves all of us. We cannot keep on living only for our own interests. We have to be men for others. And that can happen when we go all the way to doing the task of evangelization, among many others.
Christ needs to be made alive, because as image and likeness of God, we happen to have the capacity to shut him off or shut him up. Yes, that’s the sad and painful reality.
The problem with how to make Christ alive among ourselves today centers on how to make our preachers and evangelizers—from the clergy down to the religious and committed lay faithful—credible.
That’s really a tall order. With all the scandals besmirching our ecclesiastics nowadays, even the most basic requirement for credibility is already blown away. This is not to mention the fact that many of these official preachers have spotty doctrinal orthodoxy. We really need a first-class miracle here.
The world today is so deep into worldly wisdom that it can easily detect whether our preachers and evangelizers are just smart and clever worldlings like themselves or are something else who bring some mysterious, if not sacred message, that’s worth listening to.
Of course, the sector of the uninitiated, unchurched, ignorant and confused, not to mention, the polluted and corrupted, those already immunized from religion, is vast and extensive, and is growing fast. How to contain it, and more, how to convert and transform it requires nothing less than a till-death face-off.
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