Happy & Blessed Advent Season!
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come!
The word Advent is from the Latin adventus for “coming” and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas. Advent always contains four Sundays, beginning on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, (November 30) and continuing until December 24.
Advent is a great time to reflect on our own spiritual life, and where we are in our relationship to God and to others. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on how we are living out our Baptismal call “to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.”
How can we practically share the love and message of Christ? The USCCB released a study a couple of years ago that they had commissioned, titled Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012. This study shows how Catholics in the United States get their information, what place religion plays in their search for information, and how they view the Catholic Church’s presence, most specifically on the internet. This is a great resource for us who work in ministry to see where and how we need to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ!
In looking at the data, I found it of great interest, that while it appears at first glance that some of the numbers are low, in reality they are quite staggering. For example, only one in 20 Catholic adults (5 percent) reads or follows a blog about the Catholic Church, faith, or spirituality. This is equivalent to an audience of 2.9 million individuals. 5% translates into 2.9 million individuals, that is a lot of precious souls to be able to share the Good News with! I encourage you to read and share this study.
In addition to technology, there are other ways that we are called “to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.” As Pope Benedict reminded us, and Pope Francis likewise reminds us, we are called To Welcome the Stranger. We are invited to welcome, with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities, those who have no home, no family, & no community.
- Advent Resources
A friend of mine regularly reminds me of this aspect of evangelization & the new evangelization: We must meet people where they are and welcome them and love them as Christ would. We will not convince them of the truth and beauty of the Good News of Jesus Christ if it does not offer them hope, and if it does not seem real. If ours is not an authentic witness and oneness with those we are reaching out to, it won’t matter how good our blogs or our presentations are. Why? Because Christ will not be truly visible.
As I conclude, and as we begin our Advent journey, I offer you a quote from the Synod on the New Evangelization:
“… the importance of humility was raised, with Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan in the Philippines. saying to loud applause that the Gospel can be preached to empty stomachs, but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as those of his flock.”
As we seek to share the Good News, can those we are serving and ministering see Christ in us?
Let us together be true witnesses of the Good News of Jesus Christ!