July 20, 2018


Embrace your vocation as a missionary disciple

The summer months are a time to relax, slow down and recharge, but our vocation as missionary disciples is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year endeavor.

And as he has done on countless occasions, Pope Francis reiterated that fact before reciting the Angelus on July 15 before an estimated 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mk 6:7-13), the pope reflected on how Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two to preach and to heal in his name.

“It was a kind of apprenticeship for what they would be called to do with the power of the Holy Spirit after the resurrection of the Lord,” Pope Francis explained.

Speaking only in the name of Jesus, he added, “the Apostles had nothing of their own to proclaim and none of their own abilities to demonstrate, but they spoke and acted as emissaries, as messengers of Jesus.”

Like the first disciples, the pope said all Christians are called to be missionaries and should be concerned more with sharing the Gospel than with earning money or even with being successful at winning converts.

“A baptized person who does not feel the need to proclaim the Gospel, to announce Christ, is not a good Christian,” the pope said.

Those words should challenge us not only in the lazy, hazy days of summer, but every day.

Our faith teaches us that evangelization must be at the heart of all we say and do—with our families, friends, co-workers, fellow parishioners and, yes, even those we don’t see eye to eye with. Pope Francis says as much.

“This Gospel episode concerns us, too, and not only priests, but all the baptized, who are called to witness to the Gospel of Christ in all the situations of life,” the pope said.

Each of us can no doubt think of a situation or two—locally, nationally or around the world—where messengers of Jesus are desperately needed to bring Christ to a situation where faith is not at the forefront or even included in a discussion.

Christians fulfill their mission, the Holy Father said, when their proclamation is motivated only by love for and obedience to Christ, and when the only message they share is Christ’s.

When Jesus tells his disciples in the Gospel “to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts” (Mk 6:8), Pope Francis notes the poverty and simplicity of their lifestyle was meant to make those disciples —and us as well if we follow in their footsteps—“free and light.”

Jesus, the pope added, calls his disciples to set out as “messengers of the kingdom of God, not powerful managers, not unmovable functionaries [and] not stars on tour.”

We must remember that, despite our efforts as messengers of Jesus, achieving our goals is not always guaranteed. Although all the baptized are sent out on mission by Christ, they go with no guarantee of success, the pope said. “This, too, is poverty: the experience of failure.”

Let us pray for the courage to embrace our vocation as missionary disciples, to be faithful messengers of Jesus, and to not be afraid to share the Gospel at all times.

And, like Pope Francis, we pray that Mary, “the first disciple and missionary of the word of God, would help us bear the message of the Gospel in the world with a humble and radiant exultation that goes beyond every refusal, misunderstanding or tribulation.”

—Mike Krokos

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