The Essence of the New Evangelization
What is the essence of the new evangelization to which the Church in America and indeed the universal Church is called? An extraordinary synthesis of the teaching of Blessed Pope John Paul II on the new evangelization is found in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, “At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.” In the face of the grave situation of the world today, we are, Blessed Pope John Paul II reminded us, like the first disciples who, after hearing Saint Peter’s Pentecost discourse, asked him: “What must we do?”12 Even as the first disciples faced a pagan world which had not even heard of our Lord Jesus Christ, so, we, too face a culture which is forgetful of God and hostile to His Law written upon every human heart.
Before the great challenge of our time, Blessed Pope John Paul cautioned us that we will not save ourselves and our world by discovering “some magic formula” or by “inventing a new programme.”13 In unmistakable terms, he declared:
No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you. 14He reminded us that the programme by which we are to address effectively the great spiritual challenges of our time is, in the end, Jesus Christ alive for us in the Church.15 In short, the program leading to freedom and happiness is, for each of us, the holiness of life in Christ, in accord with our state in life and with careful attention to our “time and culture.”