Recently the Holy Father made some comments about priests being “missionary disciples” in a “missionary church”. Do we realize what that means? Do we realize it applies to all of us?
It is easy to see the Church as a huge entity set in Her ways. In reality we are all called to be missionaries in our daily lives. While we easily think of missionary territory as Appalachia, areas of Central America, or parts of Africa, missionary territory is anywhere where the Word is not fully encountered by the residents. We are responsible for the future of the Church, and bringing the Gospel message to everyone is an ongoing responsibility. Our missionary activity is also referred to as evangelization.
If we don’t live out our baptismal calling as disciples we have fallen short. In the Baptism Rite we are anointed as priests, with a lower case “p”. This reference to “priest” is synonymous with “holy person”, one who belongs to the Church, a disciple of the Lord.
If we don’t bring Christ into our daily lives and every encounter with another, than we are not being disciples. The missionary idea is that we are always evolving, always growing, always desiring to help others enter into communion or relationship with our Lord. We are called as disciples to reach out to those we encounter and bring Christ into their lives. We don’t need to get on a soap box, we don’t need to shout from the roof tops, we don’t need to drag them into church; we need to be authentic in our everyday lives and our everyday activities as Catholics.
Are you a Catholic all day, every day? Do you represent Christ in your encounter with the cashier, the receptionist, the bus driver, the waitress/waiter? If Christ was standing beside you as you interacted with another, would He be pleased with your actions? If not, why not?
Our prayer lives dictate our actions. If we take the time to pray, to remember our relationship with our Lord and Savior, to remember that with Christ in our lives - we live more fully. When we live more fully we are delighted in sharing our relationship with Christ with others. Again, no need to hop on a soapbox, just live authentically as a Catholic. Remember the old song, “They will know we are Christians”?
Being new to the area, newer to the Parish, I don’t presume to know your relationship with the Lord, or how you live your lives. I do know we are called to spread the Good News and we do that by being holy, prayerful, and loving to our fellow man. Saint Francis suggested that we live the Gospel through our actions. Who am I to disagree?
I wish you peace, Deacon Kevin