Disciple or Church-goer?

Perhaps you have been asked by a friend or loved one, “Why is it important for me to go to church? If God is everywhere, then what is so special about the church? Why do some go to church but their actions seem so far from being Christian? I admit these are difficult questions and they require more than an article to answer them fully. However, one point I want to make is that Jesus does not call us to be simply church-goers, but disciples. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20). If we are just church-goers, then we go to church once a week and then we are done! What I say and do afterwards does not really matter. Our God though, wants us to be more than church-goers. We are called to be disciples! Jesus desires us to be people committed to His way of life. He gives us a higher standard in order to become the best versions of ourselves. As followers of Christ, we glorify God through our thoughts, words, and actions 24 hours a day every single week. This is a life-long process with its ups and downs, but as Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI once said, “God made us for greatness”. Jesus challenges us to be His followers in the fullest sense, not just part timers. We are called to “be holy” for God is holy(1 Pt 1:16).

As Catholics, going to Sunday Mass is an essential part of Discipleship. For us, the Eucharistic celebration is what really matters, not so much the location or building. Before Jesus died, He instituted the Eucharist as He “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them[disciples], saying ‘This is my body, given for you; do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:29). As a Lay person, many of you live discipleship by working to support your family and raising your children. You try to provide an environment of prayer, love, discipline, and forgiveness in your home. However, you do not forget to participate in Sunday mass. Together with our other members of our church, that is our spiritual family, we recall the Lord’s Resurrection from the dead, we pray with and for one another, we listen to God’s Word, and we receive Jesus’ own Body and Blood for our sanctification. All of this is part of our formation as disciples of Christ, not churchgoers. As disciples, our mission to spread the gospel in whatever situation we may be. We do this outside of the church building by our Christian witness. Likewise, we are disciples rooted in the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.

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