Revitalization of our diocese has a purpose. The aim is to create parishes full of life and active faith. We are called to be parishes filled with missionary disciples. As Pope Francis expressed it: “The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step…. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers.” (Pope Francis. The Joy of the Gospel, 24, 28) The first step is being open to everyone, accepting each and every person as a wonder-filled expression of God in our midst, just as Jesus did.
Did you ever notice how heads turn and attention is focused on a parent who enters the room with an infant in arms? Even our littlest ones have an impact on us. In the Gospel read two weeks ago (Mark 6:1-6) Jesus enters his home town. Nobody wants to pay attention to him. He is too common. They know him too well. He has been among them too long. He is too ORDINARY.
Yet, the infant captures our attention. Perhaps everyone can capture our attention, if we make the effort to recognize the wonder of each person. Evangelization begins when we pay attention to one another.
Jesus shared the message of Good News. Like a prophet he spoke God’s dream for all humanity and he revealed it in what he did. It all started with an encounter. Jesus met people where they were – by a lake, in a village, at a well, in a sick room, at a meal. He began with the attention he paid to those he met.
Too often, perhaps, we miss or ignore the opportunities all around us to share the Gospel. Life seems too ORDINARY. The situations of life and the persons we meet are too routine. In a recent article Fr. Richard Rohr reflected on what it would be like if we were fully aware that each and every person we meet is “in the image of God.”
Rohr challenges us: “Imagine what the world would be like if we treated others [all others] with inherent and equal dignity and respect, seeing the divine DNA in ourselves and everyone else too – regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, appearance, or social class.” (Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, Wednesday, 4 July 2018)
Jesus did. Evangelization is about sharing this Good News.