Parishes | Schools | Priests | Masses |
More in this section MAIN MENU

Our only job: Evangelize

Archbishop's Christmas homily to Pastoral Center employees

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches the homily to Pastoral Center employees.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches the homily to Pastoral Center employees.

Homily preached by Archbishop Thomas Wenski during a Dec. 20, 2012 Mass with Pastoral Center employees.

Today all of us who work here in this Pastoral Center gather together to anticipate Christmas with this Mass. Soon, you will be singing with your families and in your parish churches joyful carols: Joy to the world the Lord has come! 

Photographer:

'The Virgin Mary – our model of evangelization – did not communicate to the world an idea; she gave birth to a son. We must always remember this – our faith is not about an idea, an opinion, an ideology or a theory, our faith is not even primarily about ethics and teaching people how to be good. Our faith is an encounter, an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, who invites us into a relationship with him, a relationship in which he calls us his friends.'
Archbishop Thomas Wenski
Today’s Gospel reading of the Annunciation reminds us how the Lord – in order to come into the world – wished to count on human agency. He counts on Mary – and on her “yes.” Her “yes” creates a space where God can re-enter a world grown cold and sterile because of his absence. It is Mary’s “yes” that in the words of Pope Benedict “opens the world to hope.” Our Synod motto is “disciples in faith and missionaries of hope.” It is not just a pious sentiment to affirm that Mary is both the disciple in faith “par excellence”; she is the missionary of hope “san parèy” – without equal. Since Christ’s coming to save us is the heart of the Good News – and Mary is, by God’s will, God’s indispensable partner in making that happen, Mary is rightly presented to us during this Year of Faith as the “Star of the New Evangelization.”

Everything we do as Church is about evangelization – or at least it should be, for we have no other reason to exist. And our only reason for being as an Archdiocesan Curia, the Pastoral Center, is to evangelize. As I said at my Mass of installation, quoting the bishops of Latin America at Aparecida, Brazil in 2007: “We have no other happiness, no other priority but being instruments of the Spirit of God, in the Church, so that Jesus Christ may be known, followed, loved, adored, and communicated to all, despite difficulties and resistances.”

As Church workers – here at the Pastoral Center – you know something about those difficulties and resistances. In fact, in one way or another, each of your jobs is involved in helping to overcome those difficulties and resistances so that Jesus Christ may be more effectively proclaimed.

I thank every one of you for what you do – an archdiocese is a complex organization, there are a lot of moving parts here – but each of you in what you do helps to advance the mission of the Church here in South Florida and as the chief pastor of this Church I am grateful for what you do – and I am grateful that you do what you do with great love and dedication. And these past two and a half years have been remarkable– and all of you have worked so hard and it shows in the progress that we have made so far. Now we are also involved in our Archdiocese’s second Synod – and I thank you for your work with the Synod so far and also for what you will do as the Synod goals are eventually rolled out and integrated into the work plans of the Pastoral Center. As God counted on Mary’s “yes” to accomplish the work of redemption, he counts on each of you. And I count on you, as well.

The Virgin Mary – our model of evangelization – did not communicate to the world an idea; she gave birth to a son. We must always remember this – our faith is not about an idea, an opinion, an ideology or a theory, our faith is not even primarily about ethics and teaching people how to be good. Our faith is an encounter, an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, who invites us into a relationship with him, a relationship in which he calls us his friends.

Today, too many people see the Gospel – especially in its hard sayings – as something against them; and not for them. People think that our religion is a bunch of “nos.” And certainly, we often don’t help the matter – with the bureaucracy that necessarily comes with a complex organization. Too often I have heard about that proverbial parish receptionist whose first word to someone who walks into the rectory office is “Are you registered?” instead of “How can I help you?”

Yet, throughout her history, the Church has evangelized. And the lived experience of her saints and martyrs has shown that the Gospel can find fertile soil in any culture – and in putting down its roots the Gospel can purify every culture when it is seen as it truly is, “good news.” The “difficulties and resistances” of our secularized culture are not impossible to overcome; we can and we must be those instruments of the Spirit of God so that “Jesus Christ may be known, followed, loved, adored and communicated to all” here in South Florida and at this time when we have been given the privilege to serve.

Mary was the first disciple, the first Christian. She shows us that Christianity is not a series of "nos" but a lived “yes” to a living person, Jesus Christ. Thanks to her, our awesome God has a human face, that of the baby we worship in Bethlehem.

Let us invoke Mary with trust so that we might always proclaim Christ, our Savior. Like Mary, we can be disciples in faith and missionaries of hope, if we present the Gospel in such a way that it is seen by our contemporaries as truly “tidings of comfort and joy;” that is, as not against them but for them, not taking away their freedom but allowing them to know true freedom.

The authentic meaning of Christmas is found in the words of St. John the Evangelist: “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son that the world might be saved through him.” Merry Christmas!

Latest News

Breaking News

Feature News

School News

Columns

Statements