Newsletter for Sunday 20 December 2015

21 Dec

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT

As ‘Be not afraid!’ was for John Paul II, and ‘Faith and Reason’ was for Benedict XVI, so, seemingly, ‘the Culture of Encounter’ has become the catchphrase of Pope Francis.

The idea of ‘encounter’ is central to the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, because it corresponds to its primary intention of encouraging “all communities to devote the necessary efforts to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are … let us be permanently in a state of mission” (No. 25), the Pope writes.

On another occasion, two years ago, Pope Francis said, “You’re in a position to promote the culture of encounter … and how important is this service!”   Why?  Because ‘encounter’ is in some ways, a proxy for ‘mercy’.  According to Cardinal Francis George, the ‘culture of encounter’ is a cornerstone to Pope Francis’ worldview.  He writes, Pope Francis  “… wants all of us to be part of this culture of encounter — encountering Christ and therefore encountering those that Christ loves.”  It is so important to start with a personal relationship with Christ and then to share that experience with others.

Today, the liturgy of the Word is encouraging us!  The Pope is encouraging us!  Let us respond by making a special effort to encounter the Lord, to come to know and love him and, with him abiding in our hearts and minds, to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole of creation” (Mark 16:15) by the way we speak and smile, and in what we do and say – as did Mary when she went to Elizabeth!

Fr Philip Sainter

To view/download the complete newsletter, click here > Newsletter Sunday 20 December 2015