32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 8th November

Sharing Our Faith

In the Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul asks “How are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard; and how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him”. This task of proclamation is the task of every Christian. It is the task that has been carried out for generations, throughout all the ups and downs of history. There has been a continuous chain of transmission of the faith in the name of Jesus from our past heritage to our present times. To interrupt that change would be to impoverish our future.

As we entered the new Millennium Pope St John Paul wrote “I sense the moment has come to commit all of the church’s energies to a new evangelization and mission to all nations. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church, no parish can avoid this supreme duty to pro-claim Christ to all people” But we seem to be at a stand still, holding back and failing to share the ‘Good News’ with others.

The constant refrain we hear from Pope Francis is that we are all called to be missionary and to share our Faith with others. “All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives.” and again “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!”

What Jesus envisaged was the power of the Spirit so flowing through us that we shall make a difference to the world we live in, changing lives through our work and witness. Sometimes we do just that, but, all too often, our efforts are devoted simply to keeping our own affairs ticking over. We look to our own journey of discipleship, our own relationship with Christ, and no further. As churches, we are focused on maintenance rather than mission.

New Evangelization calls for newness in ardour, method and expression, this means we cannot stay with the status quo. It challenges us to be courageous, creative.

Earlier this year our Bishops launched the Proclaim 15 programme. On this coming Saturday some 400 members of our Diocese are meeting to discuss how we might respond to the call of Pope Francis. Please pray the Holy Spirit will guide us and that in the coming year our parish will continue to seek ways of sharing our Faith. Faith sharing as, Pope Francis constantly reminds us, is from person to person.

To paraphrase St Paul: “They will not come unless they have been invited”

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.