The Apostolic Administrator of Gozo Bishop Mario Grech highlighted that the Church needs a new language which would enable Her to communicate in today’s world.
Mgr Grech delivered his homily on Pentecost when Mass was celebrated at the Good Shepherd Church in Victoria. Reflecting on the liturgical readings for the day, Mgr Grech noted that two gifts were bestowed on the Church – the ability to speak new languages and the ability to listen to different languages. He highlighted that both abilities were different with the first gift allowing the Church to learn new vocabulary while the second gift allowed the Church to listen and understand new languages even if these differed from Her own.
Reminiscing his time as a young priest, Mgr Grech recalled a time when he had met someone studying Chinese and who wanted to go to China once ordained. He explained that by keeping this experience in mind, he would encourage to learn as many different languages as possible. By learning a language one learns to understand those around them and explain to them the word of God, he said.
He then recalled another time when another priest had told him that he was worth as many languages he could speak. ‘Every language learnt gives you the possibility to communicate with a different world,’ he explained.
Mgr Grech stressed on the need to speak the language of God. He asked what is a bishop or a priest worth if they could not communicate God’s words.
‘A Church that does not speak the language of God has no scope and will be reduced to another NGO,’ the Apostolic Administrator of Gozo said. He added that the local Church could have found itself lacking vocations because it was not using the language of God.
Mgr Grech prayed for the Church to come out Her past traditions and move into the new era with tools adapted to confront the current setting.
Pentecost commemorates the descent of the tongues of fire upon the apostles, this enabled them to proclaim the message that was passed on to them. Mgr Grech explained that nowadays man has to confront several issues, however, the Church’s message goes over people’s heads. He added that the communication between the Church and man is poor.
“It’s like the Church and the person are having parallel conversations. The Church needs to listen, otherwise the divide will widen. This poses a risk to the Church, that of becoming irrelevant,” Mgr Grech remarked.
He highlighted that a new language was required, one which could be understood by those around us.