Blessed Pope John Paul II, following the lead of Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, called on the whole Church to be involved in a New Evangelization leading up to the Millennium year of 2000. In his encyclical letter Redemptoris Missio, JPII declared that "the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples(2-3)." This is quite a charge, and one that needs to be heeded, particularly in the West.
Following the lead of his venerable predecessors, Pope Benedict has recently declared that October 11, 2012 will begin a "Year of Faith". It will mark not only the fifty year anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, but also the Synod of Bishops meeting on the New Evangelization.
So, my question to you is what role do the Holy Scriptures have in the New Evangelization?
Here is what Blessed John Paul II said in this regard, in paragraph 39 of his wonderful apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte:
"There is no doubt that this primacy of holiness and prayer is inconceivable without a renewed listening to the word of God. Ever since the Second Vatican Council underlined the pre-eminent role of the word of God in the life of the Church, great progress has certainly been made in devout listening to Sacred Scripture and attentive study of it. Scripture has its rightful place of honour in the public prayer of the Church. Individuals and communities now make extensive use of the Bible, and among lay people there are many who devote themselves to Scripture with the valuable help of theological and biblical studies. But it is above all the work of evangelization and catechesis which is drawing new life from attentiveness to the word of God. Dear brothers and sisters, this development needs to be consolidated and deepened, also by making sure that every family has a Bible. It is especially necessary that listening to the word of God should become a life-giving encounter, in the ancient and ever valid tradition of lectio divina, which draws from the biblical text the living word which questions, directs and shapes our lives."
More recently, Pope Benedict XVI in his recent post-synodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (96) remarked:
"Pope John Paul II, taking up the prophetic words of Pope Paul VI in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, had in a variety of ways reminded the faithful of the need for a new missionary season for the entire people of God. At the dawn of the third millennium not only are there still many peoples who have not come to know the Good News, but also a great many Christians who need to have the word of God once more persuasively proclaimed to them, so that they can concretely experience the power of the Gospel. Many of our brothers and sisters are “baptized, but insufficiently evangelized”. In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture. The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by my venerable Predecessor, must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God’s word is effective. The Church, sure of her Lord’s fidelity, never tires of proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and invites all Christians to discover anew the attraction of following Christ."
The use of Scripture in our daily prayer is essential, but how are we to use Scripture in the active evangelization of our culture?