WASHINGTON — The desire to apply the Gospel is one thing, but spreading the Gospel effectively “requires effort,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in a Jan. 27 Mass homily at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington.
“We are convinced of the virtue taught by Jesus Christ and we want to promote both those virtues and the values they inspire in the hearts of disciples,” Archbishop Broglio said. “We believe that we have something to offer to our brothers and sisters. We want to fill them with life and promote a more just society.”
“Important are the methods we choose,” he added. “Seeking creative ways to pass the message of the Gospel effectively evangelizes, but it requires effort. In these days as you celebrate the call to witness, seek ways to make that witness effective and penetrating. Render effective service to the Gospel and the nation that we love.”
Archbishop Broglio said, “We want to renew our society with Gospel values. We want to ensure that the same society welcomes immigrants: both those fleeing difficult conditions at home and those who are already here.
“In 1890, when my grandparents arrived on these shores, they did not have much money in their pockets, but they accepted the welcome, lived in a tenement and worked hard. Can we say no to those who continue to arrive filled with hope for a better future?”
In the sphere of uniting a divided nation, Archbishop Broglio pointed to King David, the focus of the Mass’ Old Testament reading. He was “astute” in how he reunited the 12 tribes of Israel; David “would not lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed,” he noted.
In repeating the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering’s 2020 theme of “Bearing Witness: Life and Justice for All,” Archbishop Broglio noted how in the Gospel reading for the Mass, the Pharisees, when confronted by the reality of Jesus’ miracles, suggested Christ had derived his power from Satan.
“Jesus carefully refutes their argument by demonstrating the lack of logic and effectively announcing that the reign of Satan is over, because the kingdom of God has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said. “We firmly believe in that arrival and strive to make His life and justice a reality for all.”
The annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in collaboration with 10 other USCCB departments and 16 national Catholic organizations.
‘single set’ of issues
Drawing from the teaching of Pope Francis and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago called on attendees to remember that the work of the Church is rooted in Christ’s invitation to encounter marginalized people.
Such ministry requires having a “deep and loving respect for the poor, uniting with them, accompanying them, not to tell them what to do, but with an appreciation for the creative capacity to pursue the life God has always intended for them,” Cardinal Cupich said at the largest regular Church-sponsored assembly of social justice advocates.
The cardinal described the task of a Christian as working “with everyone in building a more human world.”
“This is about taking a stand toward reality in which neither our spiritual lives nor religion can be understood without social commitment.... They are linked together,” he said.
That linkage, he continued, “subverts any attempt to fragment our Catholic social teaching pretending to offer so-called non-negotiables, which ends up reducing our moral tradition to a single set of issues.”
Specifically, Cardinal Cupich quoted Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the call to holiness, “Gaudete et Exultate,” explaining how the pope exhorts the faithful to not only defend the unborn, but also those already born: people living in poverty, those who are abandoned, the elderly, and those victimized by human trafficking, among others.