Not sure if you pay a whole lot of attention to Vatican news.
For a couple of decades now, the popes have been insisting that we need to undertake the “New Evangelization.”
And, of course, these days Rome is abuzz with talk about how the next pope, whoever he will be, must be prepared to execute this New Evangelization.
But we face a little problem: No one seems altogether certain what the phrase “New Evangelization” means.
Now, in today’s gospel reading, we hear our Lord respond to a question: Which is the first of all the commandments? Turns out that there are two first commandments.
If He were walking around down here on earth to answer the question, What is the ‘New’ evangelization? the Lord might give the exact same answer.
Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.
But since Jesus Christ is not holding a press conference at the moment, we have to try to answer the question, What is the New Evangelization? ourselves.
Does it mean: Proclaiming the Gospel on Twitter, having weblogs, websites, and Youtube channels galore, biannual World Youth Days in exotic locations, trying to Catholicize Hollywood and/or trying to Hollywoodize Catholicism, and—in general—keeping it simple, stupid?
OR does ‘New Evangelization’ mean: same thing as the Apostles did, same thing that the holy missionaries of the Church have done pretty much nonstop ever since?
Following in the style of the Lord, who answered that there are two first commandments, I think we can say to this either/or question—about whether the New Evangelization is, in fact, altogether new, or, rather, that it is actually 2,000 years old, we can say: Yes.
Is the New Evangelization completely new and different, or is it the Church being the same Church She has always been? Yes.