I was back at Prince of Peace Parish and heard a good, simple example of how to incorporate evangelistic and discipleship preaching into a Eucharistic homily.
The priest began a Eucharistic homily on the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola with the straightforward question, “When you met God, what changed?” He proceeded to individualize it further, declaring, “for every single one of us here, meeting God should cause great change.”
Nothing complex, theologically or rhetorically. And it’s easy to see how this question united the first reading from Exodus, the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the Gospel passage from Matthew. This question represents a key aspect of the New Evangelization–that we are not to presume that those who self-identify as Catholic, are culturally Catholic, or are sacramentalized Catholics are without need for conversion, and even initial conversion. For those who may have never made a fundamental decision for Christ (as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI describes in the first paragraphs of Deus Caritas Est), the priest’s question could be a start of that “re-evangelization.” For those who can recall when they first met God and what changes ensued, the question can be the start of rich reflection, discernment of ways we have not lived out the call God placed in our lives, and ultimately, a thankful movement towards the Eucharistic table.