… all are missionary disciples, according to Pope Francis. Well, and Jesus, too. According to the commandment:
120. In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19).
This role is not only for ministry professionals:
All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized.
Has this part of the program been emphasized?
Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. 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 that we are always “missionary disciples”.
How can the Holy Father be so sure? The Scriptural witness is very old, and in hindsight we see the wisdom of choosing ordinary working people as the first apostles and disciples. Consider today’s Gospel reading, and the effectiveness of the very first missionary disciple:
If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: “We have found the Messiah!” (Jn 1:41). The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans come to believe in him “because of the woman’s testimony” (Jn 4:39). So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, “immediately proclaimed Jesus” (Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21). So what are we waiting for?
The apostles were doing lunch errands while the woman living with a fifth husband who was not her husband had practically swayed a whole village over to Jesus. Read all of Evangelii Gaudium here.