Go, therefore, and Make Disciples
The Church—that is to say, the Catholic Church, the Universal members of the Body of Christ, must be focused on her mission. Her mission is simple: “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19). We, as a Church, are in the disciple making business. We have a duty, a solemn obligation to “Go out!” and proclaim the Gospel to the world. We are not a social club, we are not just an organization focused on charity, we are not a community organization. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As members of the Body of Christ, we must be committed to his vison of disciple-making.
As Pope Francis observed: “When the Church does not go out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential; she grows ill (like the stooped woman in the Gospel). The evils which appear throughout history in Church institutions are rooted in this self-referentiality – a kind of theological narcissism.” (Evangellii Nutiandi) For so long, many of us may have brought into the erroneous notion that evangelization is the job of missionaries, of religious, or of priests. This is false. It is the job of all to evangelize—to explicitly evangelize. Saying “I evangelize with my life” is not enough. Each and every Christian is called to share in the work of leading others to explicit faith in Christ. If a Christian is not engaged actively and daily in the mission of evangelization, he or she is not in the will of God and is committing a grave sin of omission.
As St. John Paul II reminded the Church: “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” This is what we are about. This means, that I as a Catholic have three tasks:
1. To know my Catholic faith
2. To Live my Catholic faith
3. To Share my Catholic faith
It’s time to begin to consider: How well do I know Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church? How does my life reflect the teachings of Jesus and his Church? How am I actively sharing my faith with others? We want to help you. Beginning in Lent, we will start a 12-week program of Bible Study. We will begin with a parish Mission, from March 12-14 and provide other opportunities to grow in our faith. If every one of us as members of the St. Elizabeth Seton Family is able, let’s begin to pray about what each of us can be doing to advance the Kingdom of God. Here I provide the words of St. John Paul II that inspired me as a youth:
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr. Matth 10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern ‘metropolis’. It is you who must ‘go out into the byroads’ (Matthew 22:9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.”
There are empty spaces in our pews. Let’s fill them.