One of my biggest struggles as a priest is that people often assume that I will be handing the Gospel to them. They expect me to come prepared to Mass every week with a great and uplifting homily. How much work does the average Catholic put into preparing themselves for Mass? I guarantee you, if every Catholic spent just 15 minutes preparing for the upcoming Sunday Mass, our churches would be a different place. Here is the Holy Father's take on evangelization:
"The announcement of the Gospel is destined for everyone", the Pope writes. The Church "exists to evangelize. Her activity, in conformity with the word of Christ and under the influence of His grace and charity, becomes fully and truly present in all individuals and all peoples in order to lead them to faith in Christ. This task has lost none of its urgency", he adds. "We cannot rest easy at the thought that, after two thousand years, there are people who still do not know Christ, who have not yet heard His message of salvation.
"What is more, there are growing numbers of people who, though having received the Gospel announcement, have forgotten or abandoned it and no longer identify themselves in the Church; and many environments, even in traditionally Christian societies, are reluctant to open themselves to the word of faith. A cultural shift is taking place... a shift which leads to mentalities and lifestyles that ignore the Evangelical message as if God did not exist, and which exalt the search for wellbeing, easy earnings, career and success as the goal of life, even at the expense of moral values".
The Holy Father recalls how "the universal mission always involves everyone and everything. The Gospel is not the exclusive prerogative of those who received it, but a gift to be shared, a piece of good news to be passed on. This gift-commitment is entrusted not just to the few, but to all baptised people."