September 22, 2014
Our theme verse for 2015 is from Acts 4:34a: “There was no needy person among them.” It will basically be about the thrust of building the Church of the Poor. The larger context which will direct our formation for 2015 will be Acts 4:31-35, which has many elements that will support the basic thrust for the year.
This year we are “empowered to witness.” Next year we build on this. “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” (Acts 4:33). Our basic thrust is evangelization, centered on the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus, accomplished by his death on the cross and his resurrection. The more specific focus of this evangelization will be the poor, both as objects and subjects of evangelization.
What will be the other elements in developing our basic theme?
The first element is unity of heart and mind as a community. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (v.32a). We must be united in seeing the vision, in living our charism, and in fulfilling our mission. The enemy causes disunity and division, in order to prevent God’s people from accomplishing their call. Our call is crucial in this third millennium, as it has always been, and we need to work at this important aspect of community life.
The second element is stewardship. We are to be a community where “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32b). Everything belongs to God. As such, we are to use what we possess to accomplish God’s intent in our lives, for the good of the larger society. This aspect includes the call to self-denial rather than being self-referential. Proper stewardship leads to simplicity of lifestyle and sharing of resources which results in there being no one in need.
The third element is a deeper relationship with God, manifested by deep, heartfelt communion with Him. We are a people of God. We cannot do anything unless we are intimately connected to the vine, unless we are properly connected to the channels of grace and power. We are called to holiness. We want to grow to be saints. We should revitalize personal prayer and community worship. We must continue to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. “As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31a).
The fourth element is re-energizing our evangelization work. We need to respond much more strongly to the call to the New Evangelization (and continue to understand what it means). We are already empowered to witness. We have been given not a spirit of cowardice or timidity but a spirit of power and boldness. So now we act on that and go forth! They “continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31b). We will push our strategic community evangelization as well as the work of LCSC, which is ultimately geared to reaching the grassroots.
With greater personal holiness, with unity of community heart and mind, with understanding and living out proper stewardship and servanthood, with a more determined and aggressive evangelization, God can use us to really help build the Church of the Poor.
Our work with the poor is spearheaded by the No One in Need (NONe) movement.
Eastern Canada Regional Conference
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