In the last chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples:
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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. MATTHEW 29: 19-20
At Little Flower parish, the sacramental, educational and charitable outreach is at the heart of our continuing efforts at formation. This applies to children, young adults and adults alike. And we take seriously the great commission of Jesus from St. Matthew’s gospel.
In effect, it is our daily effort of putting people in personal touch with Jesus Christ in and through His living Church at our parish. It is a ministry that each one of us in the parish shares, and each one of us, in his/her own unique way by virtue of the gift of Baptism.
In our different ways of life, each of us is a catechist, a youth minister, a teacher of the faith whether from the pulpit, in the classroom, in our homes or in a parish setting. It is our irreplaceable role, as followers of Jesus, in passing on the faith by means of helping to bring others, and our very selves, in continual touch with the very Person of Jesus Christ. The vocation of every Christian is faith formation. It is not simply a job. It is a vocation, a way of life and a way of living. As a parish, we continually try to find new and concrete ways to make the faith more understandable. It is an art.
Nor are we simply teachers but hopefully witnesses of a lived faith and joyful and committed witnesses of the love of Jesus. When we personally witness what we teach, we make credible the message of Jesus in our world, a world very attuned to credibility and authenticity and transparency.
What we do, what we do together, is in a word the “stuff” of the New Evangelization, a seed planted by Blessed John Paul II and furthered by Pope Benedict XVI. As it has been said so often, the New Evangelization is not another program but at its heart an encounter with a Person and that Person is Jesus Christ. The Church must make the “Person of Jesus Christ and a personal encounter with Him central to her thinking, knowing that he will give his spirit and provide the force to announce and proclaim the Gospel in new ways which can speak to today’s cultures.” (Lineamenta, The New Evangelization, 5) And there is an urgency about the new evangelization, this new missionary zeal needed for our fast changing times. It rests at the heart of faith formation.