Time To Renew Your Faith
by Nikol Baldacchino 

There are those who look to the new millennium as a fertile land for prophecies and warnings.

A recent book called "Millennium Prophecies" includes the prophetic uttering of Nostradamus regarding the Year 2000 and other more recent ones by Richard Gayce. There are several "possibilities" for the Year 2000 insist these counterfeit prophets, such as the end of the world, natural catastrophes, even the Second Coming of Christ. Remember the prophecy of computer failures caused by "the millennium bug”?

A survey in one industrialized country showed that for the majority of people interviewed, the word "millennium" meant "big party", "computers" or a big long extended holiday! One can easily conclude that the Western World, duped by materialism and consumerism, lacks a clear vision and a specific goal for the New Millennium.

The Year 2000 is not just a change in the calendar. It should be a change in us. It should be an occasion where we celebrate the greatest event that ever happened in the whole history of humanity - the incarnation of the Son of God - God himself became Man and dwelt amongst us!

That is the reason why Pope John Paul II has been for these last ten years or so preaching on the true meaning of the Year 2000 and on the necessity to spiritually prepare ourselves in order to really grasp the significance of this event.

This Year 2000 is a Year of Jubilee - a year of joy, of great celebrations. For believers in Jesus Christ, we celebrate not just because a new millennium is starting;, but we are rejoicing because of what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. And we do this "through prayer of praise and thanksgiving above all else for the gift of the incarnation of God’s Son and for the redemption that He worked out for us" insisted Pope John Paul II.

Yet, there is another important facet connected with the Jubilee celebrations. "The primary objective of the Jubilee is the renewal of the faith and of the witness of Christians" wrote John Paul II in his apostolic letter called Tertio Millenio Adveniente. The Jubilee cannot but represent a great challenge to all of us: to renew our own commitment to Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and to bear witness of Him to the men and women of our times.

Let Jesus be the Lord of your whole life.

I believe this is the crux of it all: let’s try, through the power of God’s Spirit to take up this Jubilee challenge - to be radical followers of Jesus Christ and more fervent and zealous proclaimers of his Gospel Message. After all, this is what the Renewal is all about--bringing a deep personal conversion, entering a deep personal relationship with the risen Lord; accepting Him as our personal Savior and opening our life to the presence and power of His Holy Spirit. Jesus must be the Lord of our whole life or he cannot be Lord at all.

There are far too many people labeling themselves as Christians who shouldn‘t be claiming the title. The most notable are those who want the entire blessing of being Christian--such as God’s forgiveness, healing, joy, victory over difficulties, and the support and care of community life, hope, and, of course, eternal life. However, they are not ready to pay the price of dying to their own life and letting Jesus be their personal Lord and Savior.

There can be no compromise when it comes to making Jesus the Lord of our lives. It is the only way to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit to work within our lives, to let God come to live inside us.

True Christianity is an all-out commitment to the Lord. The Savior is not looking for men and women who will give their spare evenings to Him - or their weekends, or their years of retirement. Rather, He seeks those who will give Him first place in their lives.

The New Millennium: time to proclaim the Gospel anew.

Moreover, the celebration of the Jubilee cannot just be only a "church" event. Due to its very identity and the mission of the Church, the celebration must impel us to be strong and real witnesses to Jesus before the whole world. John Paul stresses that evangelization, or rather the new evangelization and the Year of Jubilee go hand in hand. "Now has come the moment to dedicate all ecclesial forces to the new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes" (Redemptoris Missio, no. 3).

How are we to do this? How can we reach the world for Christ with the Gospel in this new millennium? The answer is very simple: only by men and women, renewed by God’s Spirit, who love God with all their hearts and who love their neighbor as themselves.

It is only the devotion and dedication that springs from an undying love of God that will ever accomplish the task. This is the mission of the Charismatic Renewal, indeed of the whole Church, in the years ahead. Are you prepared to do your part?

Nikol Baldacchino represents Malta on the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, Vatican City. 2000 ICCRS Newsletter., Vatican City. Used with permission.

Read other articles of spiritual enlightenment in the May 2000 edition of the San Francisco Charismatics or return to the Main Menu by clicking on the blue. cpa2.GIF (2573 bytes)