At the Forum Convocation last November, keynote speaker Richard Gaillardetz noted that the New Testament was written in Greek. That is significant, he said, because it means the New Testament was not written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. (I think he was quoting, but I can’t make out my notes clearly.)
I had never thought of that. Gaillardetz went on to point out that the heart of our religion is a translated religion. From the very beginning, the story of Jesus has been translated into a language others can understand. And not just a translation into another language, but a translation into an entirely new culture. The apostolic example here is that we must be constantly translating. Our first task is not so much to teach inquirers to speak and think like us, but for us to translate the gospel into ways that they think and speak.
Maybe that’s obvious to everyone else, but it was a bit of an aha moment for me regarding evangelization.
2 thoughts on “Does the RCIA translate into today's culture?”
I think this is a very important observation. There is sometimes a tendency among RCIA team members to emphasize the importance of teaching “Catholic stuff”–all the peripheral things (such as practices, devotions, language, prayers, etc.) that go with belonging to the church. While these are useful in helping newcomers to feel at home, they have little to do with conversion of heart,understanding the gospel in terms of each one’s daily life,or building and deepening a relationship with God.
Hi Jo. I think you’re right. And just as we need to translate scripture into language that makes sense to inquirers, we also need to translate the “Catholic stuff” into understandable language.