Each year, the Office for Evangelization operates on an underlying theme that permeates each event and gathering that we host. The theme for 2017-2018 is Truly Present. Read more about our theme below and download the media kit to use different logos when promoting events in your parish.
A Reflection on the Theme: Truly Present
John 4:4-30, 39-42
What does it mean to be Truly Present? In today’s world, it is sometimes easier to be present to our phones instead of the people beside us. When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-30, 39-42), he shows us how to be Truly Present to another. The Samaritan woman arrives at the well at noon because she wanted to avoid the community that had shunned her. In that moment, she is vulnerable and broken. Jesus meets her in this moment, and he speaks truth to her. They are present to each other in truth. Through this encounter, the woman is transformed and returns to her community to invite others to meet Christ.
Today, we encounter Jesus, Truly Present, in the Eucharist. He desires to meet us in truth and vulnerability, but often, we are not truly present to Him. Hans Urs Von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian from the 20th century, reflects on this dilemma. Instead of truly encountering Christ, we “raise up walls” around our hearts. Our prayer becomes routine and stagnant. He writes, “If you live near a waterfall, after a week, you’ll no longer hear its rumble. In the same way, we have forgotten how to listen” how to be truly present, both to God and to each other (Heart of the World).
This is the call to be Truly Present. When in prayer, to focus our eyes on the waterfall that has become routine and recognize the face of Our Lord who desires to encounter us in truth. It is a call to be vulnerable with Jesus, to break down the walls and offer him our whole hearts, as they are. Like the Samaritan woman, we should be transformed through this encounter and be empowered to share that experience with our community.