“Catechists and Teachers are called…”
This year, the Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday on September 16, 2018, and will focus on the theme “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ.” Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
Pope John Paul II reminds us in his Apostolic Exortation Catechesi Tradendae (On Catechesis in our Time) of our call to be witnesses:
Catechesis is likewise open to missionary dynamism. If catechesis is done well, Christians will be eager to bear witness to their faith, to hand it on to their children, to make it known to others, and to serve the human community in every way (#24).
Let us take time, then, to reflect on the Good News of Jesus Christ. Whether we have “heard” it once or a hundred times, how are we handing on the Faith & being a witness to the Gospel?
At Baptism, we receive God’s Divine Life. We are given gifts to strengthen us and keep us united with Christ. We are given the Holy Spirit. Again, Pope John Paul II reminds us of this timeless truth in Catechesis in our Time, the Conclusion:
The Spirit is thus promised to the Church and to each Christian as a teacher within, who, in the secret of the conscience and the heart, makes one understand what one has heard but was not capable of grasping… Furthermore, the Spirit’s mission is also to transform the disciples into witnesses to Christ: “He will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses (Jn 15:26-27).”
…the deep desire to understand better the Spirit’s action and to entrust oneself to Him more fully – at a time when “in the Church we are living an exceptionally favorable season of the Spirit,” as my predecessor Paul VI remarked in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi(132) – must bring about a catechetical awakening.
For “renewal in the Spirit” will be authentic and will have real fruitfulness in the Church, not so much according as it gives rise to extraordinary charisms, but according as it leads the greatest possible number of the faithful, as they travel their daily paths, to make a humble, patient and persevering effort to know the mystery of Christ better and better, and to bear witness to it .
I invoke on the catechizing Church this Spirit of the Father and the Son, and I beg Him to renew catechetical dynamism in the Church.
May we also invoke the Holy Spirit to renew us. May He renew us, and help us to be strong witnesses, so that by our witness (in word & action), we may enlist other witnesses.