Articles : The Missionary Disciple

Posted on: 2014-01-17
Source: Rev. Fr. Peter Akinola

Dear brothers and sisters, in recent times we have been exposed to lies moving around as regards what the Pope says and what he says not. Amazingly, this is no surprise for the journey of faith, hope and love to which the Church has been mandated by Jesus our Lord as always encountered from the earliest beginnings � the attack of lies (cf. Matt 28:11-15). Luckily, lies no matter how strong or diffused they seem have never and will never overcome the truth!
Nevertheless, at times like this, we are called in a renewed manner to consider our testimony to the truth, for while those who go about propagating lies are to be reproved, much more are those who, make no effort to know the truth and those who knowing the truth, fail to propagate it and thereby allow liars to have their ways. Are we not sometimes guilty as youths of this unnecessary silence? Do we not by our inactiveness give a free day to those who go about hawking lies publicly without restrain?
These questions are propelled once again in the words of the Holy Father during his general audience of the 14th of January, 2014, when in reference to the sacramental gift of Baptism, he reminds us that baptism makes of us a "missionary disciple". This terminology is one which challenge us about the essence of our lives as Christians, that we are by virtue of our baptism both followers and propagators. We are disciples in as much as our calling is to follow Christ, the same Christ who is the head of the Body the Church (cf. Col 1:18). We need to learn from Christ and abide with and in Him, but this is not all about being a Christian - Christianity is not about being just there with Jesus inactively, it is also about reaching out unto others. A Christian is never to see himself or herself as the 'last bus stop' of grace, of truth, of love, rather he is a tunnel, through who these graces, truth and love reach out unto others while himself is continually connected to Christ.
Here lies the importance of the term used by the Pope - a Christian is essentially "missionary disciple" by virtue of his baptism. Note that the Holy Father did not say baptism makes us missionary and disciple, in which case we can think of acting as one and not the other at a given point in time. Rather, he said we are "missionary disciples", we are either both at the same time or we are not Christians. Our being disciples is because we are missionaries and vice versa. This is the grace we receive when we are baptized and we are called to be faithful to it, or we lose the right to be called Christians.
The question is, are we able to say conscientiously that we are missionary disciples? Do we not maintain unnecessary silence when truth is been bargained for lies? Do we take the time to learn from Christ and from His Church, the bulwark of truth? Are we prompt in disseminating the message of truth as missionaries or we still harbour fear in testifying to our faith? The time to make a change is NOW and the place to begin is HERE!