The Catholic Community  of St. John Neumann
A Christian Church of the Catholic Tradition
Califon, NJ

Family Faith Connection        
St. John Neumann Religious Education           
“Living as Missionary Disciples”
Catechetical Sunday, with its 2017 theme of
“Living as Missionary Disciples,” is a wonderful opportunity
for us to reflect on why we do the challenging
work of catechesis. How do we live as missionary disciples?
When I hear the word missionary, I think of a priest sailing to some far away and foreign land to preach the Gospel, armed only with his crucifix and his conviction. We might think that the call to be a missionary is a special calling meant only for a few hardy souls; we might be tempted to think, “Oh, I could never do that! Surely God is not calling me to be a missionary!” Yet that is exactly what God is calling us to be. Our mission field is not a remote village in the Amazon rainforest, but in our homes, workplace or friend circle.
On the other hand, discipleship often calls to mind something comfortable and easy. We grew up hearing that a disciple is a friend of Jesus. “Oh, yes,” we might think, “I am a disciple. I love Jesus. I go to church every Sunday. I pray. I listen to Jesus’ teachings.” But when we stop and look at what Jesus actually required of his friends, discipleship takes on a whole new meaning. Have we really “dropped our nets” and left everything behind to follow Jesus, just as St. Peter did? Are we really people of hope in the face of suffering and persecution? Do we show the people in our family and our relationships how to love Jesus, or do we simply go through the motions?
Missionary Discipleship
We simply cannot be a missionary without being a disciple. If we want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we must have our own intimate relationship with Jesus. Similarly, we cannot be a disciple without being a missionary. Our relationship with Jesus propels us to share his love with others. There is no such thing as a static disciple. Our joy at knowing Jesus bursts forth in service, using whatever gifts God has given us. A missionary disciple is someone who loves Jesus and wants to share this joy with others.
What does this mean for parents?
We are all in different stages of our faith journey; everyone has a unique relationship with Jesus. No matter where we are on our journey of faith, we have been called to be missionary disciples. Rooted and empowered by our loving relationship with Christ, and trusting that he will provide us all that we need, we can share his love in whatever mission field he sends us.
How do you see yourself as a missionary disciple? How can you share this call with your children and family?

Edited from an article by Darcy Osby is Director of Religious Education at St. Bernard Parish in Pittsburgh, PA.


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