The last of the “implications” to address in the chapter in Go and Make Disciples that defines the term treats with relationships.
GMD 26 cites Matthew and Acts to make the case that our relationship with Jesus Christ is to be found, in significant part, in the community of the Church.
GMD 27 lays out the possibilities, depending on our relationships:
- For those of us who practice and live our Catholic faith, it is a call to ongoing growth and renewed conversion.
- For those who have accepted it only in name, it is a call to re-evangelization.
- For those who have stopped practicing their faith, it is a call to reconciliation.
- For children, it is a call to be formed into disciples through the family’s faith life and religious education.
- For other Christians, it is an invitation to know the fullness of our message.
- For those who have no faith, it is a call to conversion to know Christ Jesus and thus experience a change to new life with Christ and his Church.
Six prongs of evangelization. I’m not sure we’re doing very well in any of them. For the first, there have never been more opportunities, but believers largely absent themselves from the offerings. I think American Catholics have seen an erosion in prongs two and three, despite a recognition of the challenge and first attempts to address it. As for children, the emphasis is on information (as opposed to education) and discipleship is hardly in the picture.
We might be most successful at #5, thanks to RCIA. And to a small degree, the sixth.
In other words, a lot of work lies ahead.