New Year Pastoral Letter for 2002
Paul Otsuka Yoshinao, Bishop of
1 A New Vitality (Dynamism)
Happy New Year to you all!
@@We have now entered a second year since we left behind the Great Holy
Year celebrating 2000 years since the birth of Christ and a third millennium
began for the Church and for mankind. 2001 was the year in which all 57
parishes of the diocese were grouped into collaborative ministry teams
@@In last yearfs New Year pastoral letter I explained the motivation
behind Collaborative Ministry for
@@Last Year pope John-Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter to mark the end
of the Great Holy Year entitled Novo millennio ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium) in which he calls upon us to
embark upon this new age full of hope. (In what follows I shall quote from
this document using paragraph numbers after an asterisk. (*n). He says,
in particular, that the words of Jesus, gPut out into the deeph (Luke
5:4) (*1) should inspire us to new energies, or dynamism, in the Church
and urges us to start on new pastoral plans for effective evangelization
@@I would like, then, in response to this appeal from the pope, to look
again at these same words of scripture, gPut out into the deeph, and
find in them some encouragement for the people of
2. gcinto the Deep.h ? Challenge
@@gWhen he had finished speaking to the crowd Jesus got into Simon Peterfs
boat and said to him, ePut out into deep water, and let down the nets
for a catch.f When Simon and his friends had done so they caught such
a large number of fish that their nets began to break.h (Luke 5:4-6).
@@Letfs pay careful attention to those words of instruction, gPut out
into the deep waterh which Jesus addressed to Peter. This is an exact
translation of the phrase in the gospel in Latin, gDuc in altumh. It refers to the open
sea, well away from land. In the original Greek of the gospel it says, gEpanagage eis to bathosh. The
Greek word gBathosh does
not refer simply to the deep water of the open sea but also connotes the
profound meaning of things, their edepthsf, the very core of their being. The
phrase, gPut out into the deeph, is one of great richness which carries the
nuance of going out into the unknown world where no one has yet set foot, or
the world where mystery is realized. Whilst Jesus is certainly telling Peter,
gTake the boat further away from the shore to where the water is deeperh that
is not all he is saying. He is also telling him to move out beyond our present
human experience and speculation; to move towards the world of mystery, or into
the world of the events of salvation.
@@I have felt in this command of Jesus Godfs invitation to us or, rather,
his strongly presented challenge to be ever more ready to leap into the
dark, the unknown world of mystery when we are sent out to spread the gospel.
There is no model to imitate in Collaborative Ministry for
3. gcinto the Deep.h ? Unconditional Trust
@@From amongst the fishermen who were washing their nets, having spent the night uselessly fishing for no catch, it was Simon who listened to Jesusf request. As a fisherman of many yearsf experience Peter had good reason to turn down Jesusf request. In accordance with his open and sincere manner, however, not being inclined to lay down conditions, he answered, gcbecause it is your word I will let down the net.h Not everyone in the crowd, or amongst the fishermen, listening to the words of Jesus became his disciple. How did it come about, then, that Peter was able wholeheartedly to follow Jesus? This is not a matter for reasoned explanation: Peter was gchosenh by Jesus. Peter, whose boat Jesus had deliberately chosen, opened his heart to Jesus and responded to his election with an unconditional trust which transcends human reason.
@@Broadly, the new development in the Church world-wide that we call
Collaborative Ministry for
4. gcinto the Deep.h ? A Vision of the Future andLeap Forward
@@The Pope referred to the Great Holy year as, g a providential opportunity during which the Church, thirty-five years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, would examine how far she had renewed herself, in order to be able to take up her evangelizing mission with fresh enthusiasm.h (*2) It is, moreover, proper for the Christian to have an eye to the future and we could say that it is necessary for us to use the graces received during the Great Holy Year to, gput life into our new determination and practical plans for the future.h (*3)
@@There are those who ask about our efforts to put Collaborative Ministry
5. gcinto the Deep.h ? The New Needs of Evangelization at the Present Time.
@@Christ is moving us, we who believe in the one true God, to set out into the gDeeph represented by our actual situation: the modern world in need of the gospel of hope. At the close of the 20th century, which achieved such remarkable progress in science, technology and economic development, mankind has entered the third millennium with the huge discrepancies between those who benefited from this progress and those who have been sacrificed to it unchanged. If we ask whether the process globalization has made the earth an ever-happier place we must, regretfully, conclude that there is no cause for such an optimistic view.
@@In the stagnant economic conditions which have prevailed since the
collapse of the bubble economy in
@@In all this the Catholic Church is being called by God the Father,
through Christ, to gBring the good news to the poorh. (Luke 4:18) The
Diocesan Vision Statement (1981) says, gseeking faith in the midst of
life, and out of our special concern for people ein a position of weaknessf,
let us look for Christ at work in every situation.h As we forge ahead
with Collaborative Ministry for
6. gcinto the Deep.h ? Towards Meditation and Prayer
@@Collaborative Ministry for
@@The movement towards Collaborative Ministry for
7. Conclusion gLet down the nets together, and fish.h
@@Jesus said to Peter, gLet down your nets for a catch.h(Luke 5:4) It was not Peter alone, however, who was told to let down the nets; the verb is in the plural. And after they had let down the nets and they were so filled with fish it seemed the nets would tear, Peter signaled to his gfriendsh in the other boat to come to their assistance. The word gfriendsh is extremely important. Although meeting Christ has an individual aspect it is, at the same time, always a communal experience.
@@The essential spirit of Collaborative Ministry for
@@Putting evangelization into practice in
@@In March of this year I am going to form a gPromotion Team for Collaborative
@@So, then, let us take courage, not be afraid and whilst sharing our failures and pains let us also, in obedience to our faith in following Christ, rejoice as we gput out into the deeph together in our boat, the Church. @
That they may all be one!
New Yearfs Day, 2002