This weekend the Bishops of England and Wales are holding a conference about how to respond to this challenge of Pope Francis:
The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility… In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelisers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach. We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed make them completely mission-oriented. (The Joy of the Gospel 28)
I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security… at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37). (The Joy of the Gospel 49)
One of the themes of the Proclaim 15 initiative is ‘Learning to be a missionary disciple – sitting at the feet of Jesus’.
The greatest treasure that we can have in this life is to know Jesus and to live our lives with Jesus at our side. To be a Christian is never just about a list of rules, “do’s and don’ts”. To be a Christian is hearing the voice of Jesus calling your name. The joy of the Gospel is discovering His friendship; discovering His gentle and guiding hand at work in your life. We are changed by Him, healed by Him.
The word “disciple” really means “student” or “pupil”. A disciple is someone who knows they have much to learn and who makes time to listen to their teacher. In a noisy world that’s full of false teachers trying to sell us their path to happiness, there is one voice we can trust. Take time every day to listen to the Truth that sets us free. Give some time every day to the One who has given us everything He has, who comes so that we will know the fullness of life and that our joy will be complete.