Dear Friends and Family,
For those who are privileged and called to be disciples, the Lord gives us a direct command in Sunday’s Gospel: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” How’s that going for you?
It is not typical for us to think of ourselves as disciples except in the most general way. To be conscripted into service for the sake of the gospel is probably not in our consciousness, and to be called to bring others into discipleship seems totally beyond us. As a young Catholic, I was taught to worry about my own faith and salvation. We Catholics try to live good lives, obey the commandments, participate in Church as we can, and even try to pray with some regularity. It has long been believed by many that our intentions and our examples should be enough to win souls to Christ. So, we’re busy minding our own business.
But what if our business is consciously making disciples of all nations? Can we be concerned about drawing others to Jesus when we ourselves haven’t quite gotten our own acts together?
There is an interesting line in the Gospel which to me speaks to this dynamic. Matthew reports that when the disciples see the Resurrected Lord “They worshipped but they doubted.” Curiously, this seems inconsequential to the Lord and to the task at hand. Though it might seem that faith should be solid, for all of us it is still developing, and perhaps in the making of disciples, the sharing of faith, it becomes stronger. I recognize in my own life in teaching and preaching the faith I am strengthened in my own commitment. Having to share something causes us to be alert to what it is we actually hold, and to try and live it.
This, however is terribly inconvenient for most of us who simply want to mind our own business, and don’t give too much thought to discipleship. Isn’t it enough simply to try and be a good person? Honestly, no. Goodness is rooted in God, rooted in Jesus, and rooted in our relationship to him. The more we find our purpose in him, goodness will not simply be an abstract notion of ‘not doing harm’, but actual participation in the transformation of the world. I don’t think we do ourselves any favors in avoiding Jesus’ command in this Gospel, for the more we talk of him and the more we share the good news, the more the world comes to know him and receive him as our hope.
With you on the march,