Have you ever seen yourself as a person who is called to introduce others to the person of Jesus? Most Catholics do not. They do not envision that they are the ones to go door to door to talk about Jesus. This is often seen as something “the Protestants do”, or the Mormons. But as Catholics, we are not so likely to view ourselves as those door to door evangelists. But if not us, how is it that people are to get to know Jesus? How is it that others will be brought to our Church? How is it that Jesus can get more disciples? Today’s readings issue a profound challenge to each of us to see ourselves as missionaries.
This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 17, 2017. The 2017 theme will be “Living as Missionary Disciples.” Those who the Community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
The Archbishop’s Welcome Message
For several years now, these materials have been made available digitally and free of charge in Spanish and English, to insure maximum access for a growing number of users. By popular demand, we also continue to provide posters, prayer cards, and catechist certificates for sale to those who prefer to have them professionally printed. For the past two years, we have moved up the release date so that diocesan and parish catechetical leaders can have access to the year’s theme and artwork well before catechists and teachers break for the summer. These initiatives have led to increased user rates for Catechetical Sunday resources. It is encouraging to know that in one quarter alone the resources received 145,461 views.
I invite everyone to make use of the materials that are offered for 2017–evangelists, catechists and teachers, parents and families, parish leadership and faith growth groups, and anyone striving to live as a missionary disciple. Our website also includes archived materials from past years. On the right side of this page, you will find links to Catechetical Sunday materials from recent years. You can access previous Leadership Institute items from the drop-down menu on the center of this page. These resources can be used alone or shared in small groups for even greater enrichment. They may be especially helpful for those invited by their bishops to participate in the national convocation of Catholic leaders to be held in July, or those involved in the Fifth NationalEncuentro process of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels.
On behalf of the Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, I thank you for your interest, and I pray that through the sacraments, personal prayer, deeper knowledge of the Faith, and our witness to the Gospel, we may grow in love for the Lord and further the evangelizing mission of his Church. God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair,
Chairman of Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment.”
I find this quite an indictment on my way of life. I certainly cannot use this passage from today’s first reading to describe my life today. Even as one who professes to live a life of poverty I find this statement to be untrue in my way of life. The Dominican Constitution states that friars are to be poor “in spirit and in fact.” But I am not sure I am poor in either spirit or fact.
I have so many blessings! While I try to remove the actual stuff I have in my life, those things that clutter my space and can deaden my concern for the poor, I do not always seek to remove the clutter of my attitude, removing those things from my life and my heart and my attitude that keep me from following Jesus unreservedly.
I set limits. I will only seek The Lord to a point. I hold back my willingness to do those things he calls me to do if I am to be a disciple of his. To be clear, Paul is not trying to shame us. We may not be called to exactly the same state. But it does challenge us to see what Jesus is calling us to do and who Jesus is calling us to become, and to see just how willing we are to seek to do those things and to become the person we are called to become.
What is a steward? Paul today tells the Corinthians that he is a steward of the mysteries of God. What exactly does that mean? When we think of a steward, our first thought may be a person on a ship, or a caretaker of wine. One definition of steward that I find helpful here is “one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.”
In another passage Paul uses a similar notion when he refers to himself as an ambassador of Christ. In both instances there is a clear idea that must be front and center. Whether an agent, a steward or an ambassador, the center is Christ. It is not the case that the steward or agent can act in their own way, but must consider what is best for the person they represent.
So when Paul discusses a steward’s need to be trustworthy, what is needed is one who is faithful to the person of Jesus Christ. What is it that Jesus wants of those who are stewards? I think Pope Francis has caused many to think about what it means to be a leader in the Church, or a steward of God. Talking to nuncios, or his representatives in various countries, he told them to be “meek, patient and merciful.”