of the family
Now obviously, God created families to be much more than "priest
factories." Families have the much larger mission of being
a leaven of the Gospel in the wider world. In fact, we are all called
to be missionaries. There are no exceptions. Evangelizing isn't
something we can just delegate away to priests and nuns. It doesn't
work like that.
and parenting are missionary vocations. We find the proof of that
both in Scripture, and in the teaching of the Church. I want to
encourage you to pick up your bibles and read the passages for Easter
Saturday: The First Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter
four, verses 13-21. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 118. And
the Gospel is from Mark, chapter 16, verses 9-15.
from the First Reading: "The priests and elders were amazed
as they observed the self-assurance of Peter and John, and realized
that the speakers were uneducated men of no standing [emphasis added].
Then they recognized these men as having been with Jesus."
And a few lines later, Peter and John say, "Surely we cannot
help speaking of what we have heard and seen."
And this from
Psalm 118: "My strength and my courage is the Lord . . . I
shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord"
from Mark's Gospel: Jesus appears to the Eleven and tells them to,
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all
creation." Notice that Jesus didn't say, " . . . proclaim
the good news to all creation . . . unless you have children, or
unless you have a stressful job, or unless you and your spouse are
really busy." Notice that you don't need a theology degree,
either. It can help, but it isn't necessary.
Peter and John were "uneducated men of no standing," but
they were bursting with the self-assurance and joy of faith: "Surely
we cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen." Which
echoes the zeal of the Psalmist: "I shall not die but live,
and declare the works of the Lord." Faith demands to be shared,
or it dies. That's what St. Paul meant when he wrote, "Woe
to me if I do not preach the Gospel." It's not that God will
punish him if he doesn't talk about Jesus Christ. It's that he cannot
be happy unless he shares Jesus with others. That's the mark of
an apostle, and that's what each of us is called to.
Vatican Council says the same thing in Ad Gentes, its Decree on
the Church's Missionary Activity. The Council Fathers write that
" . . . the obligation of spreading the faith falls individually
on every disciple of Christ . . . " (23), and ". . . the
whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization [is]
the fundamental task of the people of God . . . " (35). And
finally, " . . . all the faithful have an obligation to collaborate
in the expansion and spread of [Christ's] body . . ." (36).
John were "uneducated men of no standing" when they began
their ministry. but they didn't stay that way. They matured into
serious leaders and so must you. Your faith should be cultivated
and deepened throughout your lives. That's part of our duty as adult
Catholics ... we should never stop learning about our faith.