“Go and Tell What You Hear and See”
The Gospel of the Third Sunday of Advent (Matt 11:2-11) recounts the question that the imprisoned Baptist sends his disciples to ask of Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come?” And Jesus’ response: “Go and tell what you hear and see.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented today a document on evangelization, in effect asking all the disciples of Jesus to go and tell what they have seen and heard.
Thanks to Amy Welborn here is a link to the document via the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales in PDF format.
Section 11 reads in part:
It needs to be remembered that, in transmitting the Gospel, word and witness of life go together. Above all, the witness of holiness is necessary, if the light of truth is to reach human beings….However, even witness by itself is not enough, because even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run, if it is not explained, justified — what Peter called “giving a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15) — and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus.
The indefatigable (and clearly well-connected) Gerald O’Collins already has a reflection on the document in the current Tablet. One of his reflections follows:
While honouring the non-negotiable claims of truth (how could the CDF do otherwise?), this doctrinal note highlights the centrality of love. It calls “the love of Christ for the eternal salvation of all” the “primary motive of evangelisation” (n. 8). The note quotes the Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” and declares: “Love impels the followers of Christ to proclaim to all the truth which saves” (n. 10). The document brings love into its conclusion: “The love which comes from God unites us to him … and makes us one, until in the end God is ‘all in all’” (n. 13).
In calling Catholics to commit themselves generously to spreading the Good News, the CDF puts Christ right at the centre: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who is present in his Church, goes ahead of the work of evangelisers, accompanies it, follows it, and makes their labours bear fruit” (n. 1).