These are exciting times. On Sunday the Holy Father opened the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The Church has always evangelized, of course. This task is her raison d'être. Our call today is, as Blessed John Paul II put it, to proclaim the Gospel with new methods, ardour and expression. The task is urgent, and the Holy Father has summoned Bishops representing episcopal conferences around the world to reflect upon this mission.
It is also exciting! By evangelization we mean sharing with others the joy and the hope we have found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. How could we not want to share this? I have often cited Pope Benedict's words delivered in his first homily: "There is nothing more beautiful than to know Jesus Christ and to tell others of our friendship with him." Finding new ways to do so today is a very exciting challenge, indeed.
The Synod opened in Rome on the Sunday when Canadians were observing the Thanksgiving Day weekend. I am grateful for many things, especially family and friends, but my deepest thanks is reserved for the gift of the Gospel, which has brought to me the Good News and has invited me to the fullness of life and joy in Jesus Christ.
Faith is our response to this invitation. Itself God's gift, faith is the opening of the heart and mind to the person and message of Jesus Christ. In two days the Holy Father will formally inaugurate the special Year of Faith. We shall do the same for the Archdiocese of Edmonton that same day. Here is another reason for gratitude. I am grateful, of course, for the gift of faith, which defines and shapes my life as a Christian. Now I am also grateful that we have been given, through the initiative of the Holy Father, this grace-filled time to reflect upon the faith, especially as it has been given magnificent articulation in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and, of course, the Creed. Since faith originates in the heart, this Year of Faith is also a time to pray for the gift of a renewed conversion to the Lord.
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good." (Psalms 107:1; 118:1; 136:1) From the divine goodness we have received the Gospel announcing life and the faith by which we respond. In these very exciting times for the Church, let us offer frequent thanks for these wondrous gifts.