Go! Wk 1: Be Multipliers
Welcome to our new homily message series we call Go!
Catholicism or Catholic is not just a noun or an adjective, meaning it is not simply a person, place or thing, or some simple modifier. English grammar, notwithstanding, Catholicism, or to be Catholic, is mainly a verb, an action word. One of the words that best describes Catholic Christianity is the word Go because Jesus tells us several times that we are to Go and do something. He says things like: Go and sin no more. Do this in memory of me. Go and do as I have done. Go and make disciples. He never says Go sit in your pew in church and call it a day.
I have a question for you. What do you call a hen that can add, subtract, and multiply? It is a math-a-ma-chicken.
What do you call a Catholic who multiplies? A Catholic who multiplies is a truly practicing Catholic. Let’s explore that.
Have you ever asked yourself on a Sunday morning, “Why am I going to Mass”? I’ll bet your children have asked you that, at least once right?! So what was your answer? I hope it was good, because if it wasn’t then chances are you’re hating being here right now. Or at least certainly not embracing this experience of Mass. So let’s go down a list of possible answers.
You come because you pay for having a nice God, and if you don’t pay, you’re in major trouble.
No. Some may feel that way, but that’s not right.
I’m here because it’s what decent, God-fearing people do on Sunday.
That sounds boring. Yawn! Not good enough of a response.
I’m here to please God and make him happy. With all the atheists, drug dealers, and terrorists running around, maybe God could use a little encouragement and reassurance that he still has a few friends.
Fortunately, God, being God, is already perfectly happy, and nobody can take that away. Let’s try again.
Well, maybe I’m here to please him in another way, that is, curry favor with him so he’ll come through with some big-ticket blessings, or at least overlook some big sins.
I believe that’s known as manipulation. God’s bigger and better than that. He already wants to give you what you need, and he won’t be impressed by that rather immature bargaining tactic.
So why do we come here every week? The answer is simple. We are here to remember who we are at the core: God’s sons and daughters, every one of us. And as we remember and celebrate who we are, deeper and deeper inside, we draw life from God’s Son, Jesus, who is here, waiting to touch you, heal you, feed you in word and sacrament, strengthen you, draw you forward, and lastly, and very importantly send you out to be Christ in the world and to bring others to him, to bring others here to Saint Mary.
Why do we come to Mass? To be encouraged and fortified so that we will go out and make disciples.
Do you doubt me? Do you know why Mass is called Mass? It is because for hundreds of years, at the end of the Eucharistic Liturgy, which is the official name for the Mass, the priest would say, “Ite, missa est.” People heard that word missa and they started calling the Eucharistic Liturgy missa, which in English became Mass. You may know in Spanish it is still called la Misa, the Mass. In the original Latin, Ite missa est means Go, you have been sent! The liturgy does not simply come to an end. You are sent forth to bring the fruits of the Eucharist to the world. (Show roadmap?)
We come to Mass to become great disciples who are sent to go make other disciples. That is why we come here. That’s why we need to come here. In church language this is called spiritual multiplication.
“Spiritual multiplication” refers to the process of growing in discipleship by making disciples of others. You will grow exponentially in your spirituality and faith as you share your faith with others.
It is an ancient model that encourages establishing healthy friendships and sharing your life in Christ with another, and asking them to join you in doing this. A huge part of growing in discipleship is sharing the gospel and investing in new people…who will in turn do the same.
This is exactly how the early church spread…the original apostles spoke to crowds, but they also invested in the lives of a handful of people in towns across the Middle East, northern Africa, Europe, and India and empowered them to do the same work in their own towns. The reason this form of evangelization works is that it is fundamentally relational and can be done by any faithful person…there is no need to be an expert, just a friend who wants to share the goodness of God and the journey of life-long conversion with people.
We constantly hear this in the bible and the teaching of the Catholic Church.
In that 1st reading today, deacons are ordained because disciples are multiplying. All are called and sent to be multipliers.
The 2nd reading tells you directly: “You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You, and I, are sent to announce him, and his wonderful light, which means tell others about him.
In the Gospel we just heard Jesus say: “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” What Jesus does is tell the Good News that God loves you so much he sent his only son so that you might live with him.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church there is an entire section subtitled “Mission – A requirement of the Church’s Catholicity”(CCC 849 ff). If the church is to be called Catholic, it must be missionary oriented as disciples who make disciples. That is telling us not to just come to church but to go out and be church. Go out and be disciples who make other disciples.
At the end of Mass, we often hear this primary teaching of the Church when the deacon or priest says: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
We have ways to help you with this at Saint Mary. For example if you are part of a small group, the point of a small group is to invite others into the group so they too will be formed in the faith and they in turn do the same for others. We encourage you to start your own small groups. Small groups are meant to be a model you can share with others. When you do that you help Jesus make disciples. The goal is to reach others. The purpose of every group in our parish is not to exist for itself but to invite others into the group and divide to start new groups. That is small groups.
Two weeks ago we reminded you of our three conversations model. Which is another example of how to be a spiritual multiplier. Have you tried that? You read about 3 conversations on our website home page, saintmary.life
Being a multiplier is not about simply making converts. Rather, it is about making disciples and that task is not completed until each new disciple is enabled to obey everything Jesus commanded, including the command to go and make disciples. This leads to multiplication. The key is to make disciples who are able to make disciples, and not just to make converts.
This is what we want you to know this week:
You are part of this mission! You are not here to just listen to what we are saying in church. You have an active role… to share this Good News! Be a multiplier. Go! Be Catholic by being a disciple maker.
What about you? What is your advice to others in our church on how to share our faith?
This is what we would like for you to do.
Take a minute to share your ideas at this link. www.saintmary.life/go We will consolidate everyone’s input and share it with you this week in our parish e-newsletter. Then Go and share the Good News with someone.
What is your advice to others in our church on how to share our faith?