Last week, we read that 70 years ago, Pope Pius XII was concerned about the absence of God in society. Almost 50 years later, Pope John Paul II wrote:
Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith are now put to a hard test, and in some cases are even undergoing a radical transformation as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called first world in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived as if God did not exist.
(Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles laici, Dec. 30, 1988, 34)
The world is in need of the laborers that go into the harvest, as Jesus said (Luke 10). It needs active disciples today. Indifference to religion is just as troubling as avowed atheism. Without God, life is meaningless. Even profound questions surrounding birth, suffering, and death cannot be answered sufficiently. Christians have the duty to transform the world.
Even though the world may seem to be closed to Christ, we should be encouraged. The reason is that He is with us. He gives us his strength. Also, we know that the world of the first century A.D. was worse than our own in terms of spiritual poverty.
Nevertheless, the first Christians spread the Gospel in spite of difficulties.