In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”. – Pope Francis in EG #120
The Church at this very moment is in great need of missionary disciples willing to say yes to not keeping their faith too close to the vest but to share and live the faith with boldness and with the confidence that human happiness is found most fully in modeling Christ and giving our lives away in service and sacrifice.
What does this mean for Catechesis?
1) Christ came to seek and save the lost — we have to go and search for the lost. And as Pope Francis numerous times in his apostolic letter, we must invite “everyone” into the fold. Pope Francis said: “The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open” ( EG #46).
Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).
We must never tire of welcoming the weak, broken, sinners into the loving arms of the Church which is an icon of Christ Himself.”
2) When we transmit the Faith, the Pope calls for a “missionary style” in Proclaiming/announcing the Gospel Message. It must be with joy, it must be with vigor and it must communicate the crucified and risen Lord (Cf. EG #11). It’s the basic Gospel message which we should never assume that those we teach have embraced. Our style is always missionary in order to announce with joy the Good News of Jesus Christ and it’s always drawing people more fully into the riches of Christ.
3) Inculturate the Gospel. Finding new expressions of announcing the Gospel so that it will be received is vital for the handing on of the Faith in the Third Millennium. Pope Francis said:
69. It is imperative to evangelize cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel. In countries of Catholic tradition, this means encouraging, fostering and reinforcing a richness which already exists. In countries of other religious traditions, or profoundly secularized countries, it will mean sparking new processes for evangelizing culture, even though these will demand long-term planning. We must keep in mind, however, that we are constantly being called to grow. Each culture and social group needs purification and growth. In the case of the popular cultures of Catholic peoples, we can see deficiencies which need to be healed by the Gospel: machismo, alcoholism, domestic violence, low Mass attendance, fatalistic or superstitious notions which lead to sorcery, and the like. Popular piety itself can be the starting point for healing and liberation from these deficiencies.
The three points specify ways we can be missionary disciples today in our world and to our students. May Our Lady be our model and intercede for us to bring forth the Good News of her Son!