The Kingdom of God is as if a person would scatter seed on the ground,
and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow,
without their knowing how. (Mark 4:26-27)
Jesus used a lot of parables – little stories of everyday life. He used these parables to show those following him how they are part of his message and his mission. Like sowers of seed, disciples scatter the message widely, they nurture it and care for it. But ultimately, the message and the mission unfold through the work of the God’s Spirit. Jesus is God’s way of touching and calling all humanity into His Kingdom of love, of justice and of peace for the whole world.
Our diocese is in a process of realignment, of change. But we are not changing simply to look different. We are realigning in order to revitalize. The ultimate aim is to that our parish communities become aware that we are all disciples of Jesus. More than this, as disciples our great call is that we do as Jesus has done, be builder of God’s reign. WE become the face of Jesus to one another and beyond to all humanity.
This process of becoming the face of Jesus for others is what we mean by “evangelizing”. As Jesus shared his message in what he said and even more, in what he did, how he acted, so too are we called. We will plant the seed of the message, we will carry out the mission through our words, actions and attitudes. Jesus acts in our world through us, the communities of disciples.
In 2013 Pope Francis, in The Joy of the Gospel, reminded us of our baptismal call – to be evangelizing disciples of Jesus. We are to be a Church of disciples, on a mission to share the Good News of God’s love with our world. This mission of love and hope is what Jesus proclaimed and so as disciples we are call to the same.
Pope Francis describes “Church” as being evangelizing disciples: “Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly [or parental] love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity….. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” (Pope Francis. The Joy of the Gospel 114)
In becoming Church we are communities of disciples and evangelizers. “The Church,… is more than an organic and hierarchical institution; it is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God…. a people of pilgrims and evangelizers.” (Pope Francis. The Joy…111) We are pilgrims, on the way - learning and growing as disciples. Filled with God’s Spirit we are also evangelizers, building God’s reign of love, justice and peace for all.