There’s a lot of talk these days about being Missionary Disciples. Sherry Weddell wrote a book about it; Pope Francis speaks about it; our new pastoral plan for the Archdiocese urges us to become one. But just what is a missionary disciple? It is, first of all, a person who believes in Jesus as the Son of God and let’s that make a difference in his/her life. So many Catholics today no longer come to church because they had no connection with Jesus. Going to church was an obligation, a burden, not a privilege and an experience to relish. If we are still there, just putting in our time and getting out as quickly as we can, then we are not disciples much less missionary disciples! Jesus says in the Gospel this weekend, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Taking up our cross is never easy and none of us wants more burden. But Jesus goes on to promise that, if we do so, we will be judged on our actions.
As we enter into a new season after Labor Day and as we return to the more familiar, school, sports, scouts, a regular schedule, let us make it our goal in this Fall semester to become more and more like disciples of Jesus. That means we read our Bible, we come to church joyfully, getting there early, introducing ourselves to people we do not know, participating by singing and responding, staying until the end and relishing the ways we have heard God speak to us. If that begins to happen then we can go out to others with the Good News. If it doesn’t, we have nothing to give.