The Year of Faith is a call to all of us to put more “life and energy into our faith”. It is a time to re-commit ourselves to living our faith and living the Gospel of Life. It is also a time to examine how we teach or preach the Word of God. The New Evangelization is about how we communicate the message of the Gospel to others.
Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical letter “The Gospel of Life” reminds us that “when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life”, (no.21). If we wish to change the “culture of death” in our society we must restore God to the center of our lives. The power of the Gospel is to transform humanity from within and to make it new. Like the yeast which leavens the bread, the Gospel is meant to permeate all cultures and give them life from within so that they may express the full truth about the human person and about human life.
Brothers and sisters, in this Year of Faith we need to renew our commitment to building a “Culture of Life” in our communities. We need to refocus our energies. A “Culture of Life” is not only a deterrent to abortion but it is the answer to many of the evils that afflict our society today: it would promote respect for all human life, in every situation, circumstance and stage of life. A “Culture of Life” would never permit the violence that permeates our lives; it would never permit the lack of reverence and respect for the dignity of every human person. It is time for us to focus more on the need to change the “minds and hearts” of people as Jesus did, one person at a time. We can change the world as Jesus did, by placing more emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God, just as we are called to do in the New Evangelization.
The Apostles carried on the work of building up the Church in a world and culture that was totally opposed to the teaching of Jesus. Blessed John Paul, when he challenged us to create a culture of life, knew that many times we would find ourselves in situations where civil laws would be contrary to God’s law; he knew that we would be called to live our faith in cultures that were adverse to the Gospel; he understood that we had to do all that we could to change the laws or make them inoperative by creating in our communities a culture that would instinctively reject such laws or such a philosophy of life. This is the work which Pope Benedict calls us to in this Year of Faith.