Did you ever notice how hard it is to keep good news a secret? It’s not easy to be quiet when someone is expecting a child. It’s hard to keep a lid on the news that someone is in for a big new job. Life is full of leaks when it comes to secret or confidential information. The funny thing about this, is that when it comes to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, we often seem to behave as if it were a secret reserved only for ourselves. We seem shy to share it or we think it is a task belonging to someone else.
Good news travels fast and far. Even in the Gospel we hear this weekend, we see the impact of Good News. As we hear today, Jesus often gathers a crowd. Obviously, it’s what he says and does that hooks them. We need a new vision of who we are, a realization that we, all of us, are Church. Sharing the Good News belongs to every baptized person.
Recently, on June 6, Pope Francis expressed this broad view of Church as he spoke to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. In speaking about how we understand “Church”, he said: “Some think that there are only bishops, the bosses, and then there are the workers. No, the Church is all of us, everyone, each person has their role in the Church, but we are all the Church.” He went on to say to the thousands
who were gathered: “The Church is we who walk, we who are here in the square. It’s everyone.”
In presenting Church in this way, Pope Francis was expressing the vision of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II). In the Constitution on the Church, the Council focused on capturing who we are as Church. There we hear again and again that WE, ALL OF US ARE CHURCH. When it comes to sharing the Good News, it is the mission of the whole Church, every baptized person has this mission.
Pope Francis has shared this vision repeatedly. As he wrote, in 2013 in The Joy of the Gospel: “In virtue of their baptism, all members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization…. 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 we are always “missionary disciples”. (The Joy… 120)
The ultimate aim and purpose of restructuring our diocese is that we might be revitalized. This will not happen overnight. But over time it is our hope that we may grow to be the “missionary disciples” we are called to be, sharing the Good News in our lives as well as our words.