The feast of Pentecost reminded us of the Spirit’s presence in our midst as animator, consoler, the breath of new life, the great Spirit of Truth promised by Jesus to his disciples. During this ‘ordinary time,’ we are reminded that our baptismal call as Christians is to enter more fully and joyfully into the process of evangelisation and to recover the original freshness of the gospel, for ourselves and for others.
Pope Francis observes that ‘in every activity of evangelisation, the primacy belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit. It is God who renews, inspires, provokes, guides and accompanies us and it is God who brings new life’.
This time of evangelisation is for the purpose of sharing our faith with others and doing it with the joy of grateful remembrance for all that God has done for us; a continual journeying with Jesus, open to the promptings of the Spirit in our daily lives.
Where this process of evangelisation takes place is in each area of pastoral ministry in our local parish communities where members continue to gather together in memory of Jesus to listen to the Word of God, to celebrate Eucharist, to care for the poor and needy and to support and encourage one another in the journey of becoming missionary disciples of Jesus.
The missionary focus of our communities is to announce and spread the good news of Jesus, to invite inquirers to ‘come and see’ what the Spirit of Jesus is doing in our times, in our communities and in the world.
We, the baptised, are similar to the 72 disciples – called to go forth and make disciples, and to do so in the joyful knowledge of being loved by God.
An evangelising community ‘… can move forward, boldly, take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast’ (Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium).
It is during this ‘ordinary time’ that the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process recommences in many parishes.
The next couple of months of ordinary time is known as the period of evangelisation and pre-catechumenate, where those interested in becoming Catholic are invited to ‘come and see’ what the community is all about, what the community does, why it gathers each week for the liturgy of the Eucharist, why it does the things it does in and for the wider community.
Candidates who may be interested in becoming Catholic have the opportunity to come along and be supported in their desire to know more about Jesus and to develop a personal relationship with him in prayer. In the process, they are supported by members of the parish who, as in ancient times, act as mentors or companions on the journey.
Ordinary time is a time for us to renew our hope and our faith in the God who renews and calls us anew to be faithful followers of Jesus. As people of faith, we are called to notice each day the working of the Spirit in our communities, in the lives of individuals and in the wider community.
We see evidence of the Spirit at work in gatherings such as the coming Diocesan Assembly and the Plenary Council gathering. We also see the Spirit calling us forth to care for creation and to work together to honour our God-given relationship to the earth as another family member.
We see the Spirit at work in those who call us to develop greater sensitivity and a movement towards action and compassion for all who suffer unspeakably on a daily basis.
These things, too, are what inquirers are invited to ‘come and see’ during this ‘ordinary time’.
Kathy Horan is RCIA coordinator for the Adelaide ArchdioceseJump to next article