Put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13, 14)
The kingdom of God is at hand. And since no one can endure the day of the Lord’s coming, we have to repent.
We affirm the royal presence “in mystery” (LG 3). And the word “mystery,” though it means primarily that God surpasses our understanding, can be understood in this sense: not a few of us conceal rather than reveal the kingdom (cf GS 19). Do we really give witness to the kingdom of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace?
A rich source of points for an examination of conscience, Evangelii Gaudium invites us, if not to conversion and continual reformation (26), then to a testimony to and an announcement of the Gospel which are better each time. Pope Francis admits that we leave much to be desired.
A desire is expressed thus: “And may the world of our time … be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ” (10). It is desired too that the preacher sees to it that his words not become more important than the celebration of faith (138). Another desire is presented in the indicative mood: “Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy …. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but ‘by attraction’” (15).
Do we attract people to the Gospel? Do we recognize the one mightier than us, or are we the center of attention? Do we not undermine our own testimony because we do not welcome one another nor defend the most vulnerable, preferring the law of the jungle, which spells violent pursuit of one’s own interests, to the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, peace? Like the humility of Mary Immaculate, does ours proclaim the greatness of the Lord, whose saving love “is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings”? (44) Is our faith highly contagious, or does it hardly trickle down to others?
The Gospel in person is Jesus (209). He is all the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness we need to know and announce. Grasping it, St. Vincent de Paul advises: “Remember … that we live in Jesus Christ by the death of Jesus and that we ought to die in Jesus Christ by the life of Jesus Christ and that our life ought to be hidden in Jesus Christ and full of Jesus Christ and that in order to die like Jesus Christ it is necessary to live like Jesus Christ (Coste I, 295).
Jesus, yes, is the “horizon of beauty” evangelizers point to and the “delicious banquet” to which they invite us at the Mass.