Part of the reason that we are lost in the first place is that we may have absolved false messages about our identity and our purposes. In our time, many Catholics are operating out of a diseased understanding of our identity and mission. We are sick. The body of Christ is sick. There are foreign elements that have invaded our organism and have begun to alter our DNA.
The good news is that the damage is not irreversible. The power to change is in our hands.
We need to restore the DNA of the Church so that we can begin to grow once again. The change begins in our mind and in our hearts. If we don't change our mindset we will not get there.
We know God founded his church to be alive, to grow, to reproduce, to transform the environment around us into something resembling the Kingdom of God. That was the central message of Jesus. If that isn't happening we need to honestly ask ourselves why.
What we are offering are on ramps. A series of key words each of which has the potential to put us back on track. We are going to look at 5 of these words. They are all directional words, they put our feet on a path. They don't leave us in the same place. They take us somewhere.
Faith - Faith is the most foundational word of all. Faith gives us access to the truth. It plugs us into God's interpretation of reality, all of it. It is opening my being to a Word that has the power to transform all aspects of my life. It means putting myself at God's disposal. Faith is God's work in me, to which I respond. It is meant to be shared. It is not meant to be kept to myself.
Parish - We are sojourners here. We have a destination. We are a community of disciples who are going somewhere. We are going to the heavenly homeland. But we one another to get there. And we need ot try to bring as many people with us as we can. We know that it is not easy, we need one another for support. We need to be fed on the Word of God, on the Eucharist. We are meant to give a direction to the world.
Laity - You are the ones who are primarily responsible for the work of bringing the Gospel out there. The ordained are meant to teach you, to shepherd you, to sanctify you with the sacraments so that you will be able to go out there and transform the realities in which you live. We clergy can't do that, we don't have that impact. Your call is to take the Gospel and put it into all the structures of society.
Conversion - I have made the decision to live for another. You have to decide to drop your nets and follow him.
Missionary Disciple - This is the particular task entrusted to each one of Christ's disciples. Each one of us has a mission. The Church is a mission - it is why the Church was founded in the first place. We exist as a Church to make disciples.