Pope Benedict prays as he leads a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican Oct. 9.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Benedict prays as he leads a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican Oct. 9.

October 15, 2012
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – To evangelize means to help people understand that God himself has responded to their questions, and that his response – the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ – is available to them as well, Pope Benedict said.

"Our role in the new evangelization is to cooperate with God," the pope told the more than 260 cardinals, bishops and priests who are members of the world Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

"We can only let people know what God has done."

In a 21-minute, off-the-cuff reflection during Morning Prayer at the synod's opening session Oct. 8, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of prayer in the Church's push for a new evangelization.

The pope examined the use of the word "evangelion," the Greek term that is the root of the English word "evangelization," and which is itself translated as "Gospel."

In the Book of Isaiah, he noted, the Hebrew equivalent of the word describes "the voice that announces a victory, that announces goodness, joy and happiness." It sends the message that God intervenes with power in history to save his people.

In the New Testament, the pope said, "evangelion" is the good news of the incarnation of Christ, the coming of God's Son into the world to save humanity.

"Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians," he said. "We pray that faith becomes like a fire in us and that it will set alight others."