Education & Evangelization
Step outside ourselves
Pope Francis has called the Church to “step outside itself” and bring Christ to society’s “peripheries.” In the second reading this week, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that none of us, individuals or splinter groups, has it all together (1 Cor 1:10-13, 17). Together, however, we have it all: Christ’s own life to share and His gospel to proclaim.
Today’s Gospel tells us about Jesus walking the shoreline, seeking out others to join his journey in faith (Matthew 4:12-23). He was recruiting followers. He was welcoming and Simon, Andrew, James and John dropped what they were doing and made a leap of faith to follow Jesus.
God asks us to use our talents and experiences to serve others. A leap of faith is also an act of love. To borrow from Pope Benedict this idea: that love without suffering is mere words. Our faith can be inconvenient in a world that wants things easy and fast. People don’t want complications and they don’t want to be judged. After all, the ultimate judge in our lives is God, not anyone else, so who are we to judge another? People come to church, come to our Catholic Christian faith to be and feel connected. They need to feel connected just as the first apostles felt when recruited by Jesus on the sea shore.
What are we doing as a parish to be more inviting to not only to other Catholics, but to others who may be interested in knowing what our faith is? How does our parish appeal to younger families, families with children still in school, families who are caring for older family members?
No one ministry within a parish is the leading answer. We should offer a full set of choices and welcome new potential members, new potential parishioners. Last year, Fr. Rossi challenged everyone during Lent to bring three people to Mass who had not been to Mass in awhile. I am renewing that challenge this coming Lent to reach out to a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker and ask those Catholics to Come Home – and come visit our Home.
Jesus has shown us the way with example of walking on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and recruiting apostles. We are recruiting and seeking people to join our community and let’s not make it complicated, not be judgmental, but be welcoming. It is not about joining a particular ministry, it is about coming to our community and starting by praying together. Our family praying with those new family members.
It is time for us to step outside of ourselves and reach out to the peripheries.