“Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church.” -Pope Francis
On September 26, 2015 our Holy Father Pope Francis spoke to the bishops, clergy, and religious in Philadelphia during his homily at Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. He spoke powerfully to America about the need to find our mission in Jesus’ Church and to have a more engaged laity in the Church.
As we made our journey home to Omaha, I began to reflect more about this journey saying to myself, “What are we doing?” or “Where are we going?” I just came across this homily and realized how much it speaks to us right now.
St. Katharine Drexel is the second American born recognized saint. She focused her work as a religious sister on the black and native people of America. She established the first mission school for Native Americans in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She had an interaction with Pope Leo XIII asking him for missions and he responded, “What about you? What are you going to do?”
Pope Francis reflects on this response saying:
“Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission.”
Katharine was a young woman seeking to make a great change in the world and the Pope’s response changed her.
Pope Francis goes on to challenge the religious, bishops, and clergy about how they interact with the young.
“Do we challenge them? Do we make space for them and help them to do their part? To find ways of sharing their enthusiasm and gifts with our communities, above all in works of mercy and concern for others? Do we share our own joy and enthusiasm in serving the Lord?”
We, as Catholic Christians, are responsible to carry out the mission of the Church to bring the mercy of Jesus to every person. We are called to be,
The Holy Father’s second insight from Pope Leo XIII’s response to Katherine was that he was calling upon a lay woman to be a missionary. In our present time in the Church the laity are being called to be missionary. We must ask ourselves: what are we as laity doing to disciple others into a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Jesus is still unfolding the details of this call to be family missionaries. I must trust Jesus as the Holy Father says,
“I encourage you to be renewed in the joy and wonder of that first encounter with Jesus, and to draw from that joy renewed fidelity and strength.”
Please pray for us as we discern a few different ministries to commit our family to full time. In all things, may Jesus Christ be praised, adored, and loved!