It often appears to me that the church in the latter part of the twentieth century, and now  in the   beginning of the twenty-first century, has a golden opportunity to make the gospel of Jesus real and relevant to a world that is weary of wars, weary of emptiness, and increasingly weary of moral degradation.  It is time to make all things new.  It is a time when we should prepare ourselves to be the church at its best.  We must remind ourselves that the world is most ready now for the message of God’s love, delivered by people like you who have always demonstrated that love in your own lives. 

During the last century, and even during this century, a large part of our world has been in revolt against religion in general and against the church in particular.  And we should recognize that some of that revolt was inevitable.  Too often people have been preoccupied with trivialities inside the church, while the world around us was in desperate   need of someone who really cares. 

But hopefully the pendulum seems to be swinging back the other way.  All across the western world there are signs of an unofficial movement for renewal.  From everywhere come reports of greater vitality within the church. People have run up against the truth of something Jesus said centuries ago:  “Man does not live by bread alone.”

Thus a quiet revolt is happening here and there around the world.  There is a spreading and a growing revolt against a pagan world as more and more people face the futility of life without God.

This is an encouraging sign, because the only hope for our world lies in what St. Paul called “a fresh, spiritual way of thinking.”  If our world is to return from the edge of despair and the brink of self-destruction, then we must  recognize and accept spiritual values.  It is not enough to believe in science.  We have all seen what science can do when it serves the purpose of a pagan world.  It is not enough to believe in education.  We have seen the unspeakable tragedy of trained minds when they are bent on selfish and destructive ends.

Above all else there arises the realm of spiritual values – like justice and righteousness, mercy and good will.  These put new purpose in life and give meaning and direction to life.  These are the great values that Jesus both taught and practiced.  These are the values which our world today and in the 21st century cannot afford to ignore.  If we do, it  is only to our own disaster.

Our modern world, which includes our own community with all of its pride of accomplishment, is back where the ancient world was when it first confronted Jesus.  We are in desperate need of saving and I see no salvation other than that which is offered in Jesus – His basic faith in God and man, and His basic principles for right living.  Like the early   disciples, we must confront ourselves, our community and our world with Jesus.  He is the only viable option we have. 

We need to swing back to the side of the Catholic gospel.  Let us live and proclaim it with all that we have and are.  We must no longer be content that the world and our community lives as the pagans do.  We must put on that new person, created in God’s image.  We must put on Christ and we must be like Christ in all things.  This truth will set us free.