The Church needs missionary disciples

| Crystal Crocker | September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
Jesus Handing the Keys to Peter

Jesus Handing the Keys to Peter, Pietro Perugino, Public Domain

The recent announcements involving new scandal in our Church sadden me to the core of my being. Just when there seems to be light and hope, another tidal wave of scandal comes to take it away. The evil one is at the gate, and it seems he has invaded and the battle won’t end.

People are angry. I am angry too, but I also love my Church. People are asking, “Where is God? Why does this keep happening? Maybe it is time to leave.” In prayer, I also ask, “Lord, where are you in all of this? Why are you not doing something?” But Jesus asks me, “Where are you? Do you also want to leave?”

I am struck by this question. It is familiar. In the Gospel reading on a recent Sunday, Jesus asks his Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?”

This question comes in the Bread of Life discourse in John 6, in which Jesus proclaims that he is the Living Bread from heaven, and whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread he gives is his flesh for the life of the world. But the next verse reveals that this was too hard for many of his disciples, and they “returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”

Of course, I answer Jesus, “No Lord, I cannot leave you.” And I repeat Peter’s words, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Find your Bible and read these words, because in the next verse Jesus says, “Did I not choose you Twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?” The Gospel goes on to say, “He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.”

Did Jesus also say this in order to point to a time such as this? He said there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing; he pointed to them again and again. Even Peter fell prey to trying to tempt our Lord to avoid his passion, and then later he denied him. And yet, Peter became the rock on which Jesus built his Church.

Many Catholics have been asking what they can do to change the Church for the better. My response has been to look to Jesus who transformed fisherman into disciples and how they responded by transforming others and established his Church, even as they were struck by unimaginable hardship and difficulties. The Church gathers us in, even in our inadequacies, weakness and sinfulness, and she asks us to become disciples and share the Good News.

Many may say this is too great a risk. But now more than ever, we need missionary disciples of all ages to be in the mission field that is right in our own Church, parish and family.

be in the mission field that is right in our own Church, parish and family.

Christ promised he would be with us until the end of time, and that the “gates of hell shall not prevail.” However, Jesus needs us, and the Church needs us.

“I am the way, the truth and the life.” This is his invitation to follow him as a disciple, to rise up in our Church, become our Church and breathe life into our Church. The Church has a body and it is us. The head of the Church is a person, Jesus Christ. And he is asking, “Where are you? Come and follow me.”

Crocker is director of the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


Missionary Discipleship Series

Catholics are invited to participate in a new initiative to gain the tools needed to be missionary disciples. The Missionary Discipleship Series includes three, four-week sessions, beginning Oct. 4 at St. Peter in Mendota and Oct. 9 at St. Hubert in Chanhassen. Each evening session includes speakers, reflection, prayer, Q&A and discussion. Speakers include Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Father Steven Borello, Michael Naughton, Molly Schorr and Patrick Conley, plus video presentations by Bishop Andrew Cozzens and Father Francis Hoffman (“Father Rocky”) of Relevant Radio. Cost is $150. Childcare is available at St. Hubert. For more information, contact Susanna Parent at 651-291-4411 or parents@archspm.org, or register at archspm.org/missionarydiscipleship.

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Category: The Local Church