Finding Jesus in the Catholic Church | R. Thomas Richard, Ph.D. | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
Our mission (as Church) is to bring about that meeting that can change lives, that can make disciples. Then, as a loving mother Church, we are to nurture and guide those disciples into fruitful holiness in Christ.
Have you heard former Catholics—now evangelical and fervent in the Lord—say things such as: “I had to leave the Catholic Church to find Jesus”? Have you heard anyone say, “Once I got out of the Catholic Church, I really heard the Gospel—and I got born again, and I got saved”?
We in the Church need to listen to such troubling claims; we need to take them seriously. It would not be helpful or charitable to dismiss quickly the persons or their stories with: “You couldn’t find him in the Church because you weren’t looking for him,” or, “The Mass is filled with the Gospel! It’s proclaimed in every Mass we offer.”
It may well be true that when these people were in the Church, they weren’t looking for Jesus. If they had searched, they would have found! The question for us—for the Church—is: Whose responsibility is it to insure that Catholics can and do “find Jesus” in his Church? I assert that it is not the responsibility of children to find their own food, to prepare their own meals, and to feed themselves. It is not the responsibility of children to educate themselves, to nurture and bring themselves to maturity, to make boys into men, and girls into women, to make disciples of themselves under the Headship of Jesus Christ. It is not the responsibility of children to make soldiers of themselves, to prepare for the coming battle, and to face the enemy at war with them in the world.
No, it is the responsibility of parents to raise their own children, and it is the responsibility of the Church to make her children, of any age, into disciples of Jesus, bringing them all to maturity in him.