July 31, 2013
By Father William Muench
We are still in the Year of Faith. My prayer is that you have realized an increase in faith during this past year.
Can you imagine people from all of the diocese joining together for Mass? It will be a powerful demonstration of Catholic faith in the North Country.
The Year of Faith took a very different turn when Pope Francis was elected – March 13, 2013. His election added something spectacular to the celebration of the Year of Faith throughout the world. The Year of Faith is dedicated to evangelization.
From the very start of Pope Francis’ papacy he was noticed. He certainly became a personal example of evangelization – bringing the message of Jesus to the people of our world - for many throughout the world noticed him. They wanted to know what he is doing – the wanted to listen to what he was saying.
His humility was a quality that was immediately noticed. He demonstrated this humility in his actions and talks, reminding us all of the message of Jesus - the humble Savior of the world – right from the first days of his Pontificate.
He so humbly accepted his new office, right from the start. On that very first evening as he was introduced to the people in St. Peter’s Square and to the whole world through the television coverage, he showed us just how humble our new Pope was going to be.
I know that I was impressed as he began by bowing before us all and asking for our prayers. I remember that I joined with all those others in offering a prayer for him and for our Church.
Ever since that night, people everywhere cannot get enough of his style of ministry and the way in which he humbly reaches out to us all. Truly he is noticed – in this way he is constantly evangelizing.
So, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has become our first and primary example of evangelization for all of us. He challenges all of us to follow him in bringing Christ to our own part of the world.
He constantly reminds us that each one of us is important in this effort – and each one of will be successful in this task of evangelization – bringing Christ to our world.
The danger will be that some of us do not consider themselves important in this campaign to evangelize the world. The challenge of this Year of Faith is that through prayer each one of us – clergy, Religious Sisters, Lay men and women – recognize just how much we can bring to this effort to evangelize our world.
People see us. Our efforts to live a good life and bring some peace and happiness to this world is our program of evangelization.
Jesus became one of us – Jesus accepted our humanness in an effort to show us the way – so truly he came to evangelize us.
Our part is to accept the message of our Lord by making our act of faith and living it out. The whole New Testament, the whole gospel narrative, is told in order to draw from us an act of faith in Jesus, the incarnate Word – true God and true man.
To live the doctrine of the Incarnation is simply to be a Christian. To live it better is to become a better Christian. Pope John Paul often taught in his messages by saying, “Become who you are!” In the Incarnation, Christ took on our human nature, so this mystery touches on every aspect of your life and mine.
How do we share this with others? Help others to see that everything in the world has changed because of Jesus Christ – not simply in a visible way, but in its very meaning. It is true that no other person has ever has such an impact on history.
In that sense, we continue to see the influence and work of Jesus in countless acts of charity, great and small, in billions of lives.
But the greatest difference is interior and invisible. Jesus’ life and death have given profound meaning, dignity, and even power to every human life and death.
By our lives, we can show this to those we meet each day.