12C Discipleship 1 - Who is JesusDiscipleship: The path to knowing and following Jesus

The question

  • Today in the Gospel (Luke 9:18-24), Jesus asks these 2 questions:
  • Who do the crowds say that I am?
  • Who do you say that I am?
  • Peter answers: The anointed of God
  • How do we answer this question?
  • How would you describe your lived relationship with God?

The situation

  • There are 6,500 people in our parish who identify as Catholic (aka ‘census Catholics’)
  • Only 440 people come to Mass on an average weekend – which is 6.7% of potential Catholics
  • During sacramental preparation, that increases to around 570 on average or 8.8%
  • At Christmas, around 23% of people attend at least one Mass; at Easter around 18%
  • Perhaps another 20% attend other services – eg, baptisms, funerals, weddings, school Masses during the year
  • So about 4,500 people who still call themselves Catholic have essentially no connection to our church / parish
  • 93% of census Catholics don’t make weekly Sunday Eucharist a priority in their lives: around 6,000 fellow Catholics
  • Some will claim to believe / pray privately
  • Some will have problems with Church teaching
  • Some will have lost trust:– sexual abuse crisis
  • Some will claim to be too busy for church
  • Surveys indicate that around 33% of Catholics only believe in God as an ‘impersonal force’
  • Only 48% of all Catholics were absolutely certain that they could have a personal relationship with God.

Three spiritual journeys

  • The personal interior journey of a lived relationship with Jesus Christ resulting in intentional discipleship.
  • The ecclesial journey into the Church through reception of the sacraments of initiation.
  • The journey of active practice – (seen in receiving the sacraments, attending Mass, and participating in the life and mission of the Church.)

Drawing near to God

  • We are a church that has settled.
  • We have settled merely with the possibility of salvation, rather than great spiritual fruitfulness.
  • The church possesses the means of grace… why settle for anything less than yearning for the fruitful manifestation of that grace?

St Thomas and the fire

“Therefore some receive a greater, some a smaller, share of the grace of newness; just as from the same fire, the one receives more heat who approaches nearest to it, although the fire, as far as it is concerned, sends forth its heat equally to all.” St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, q69, a8.

Jesus the Questioner

  • Who do you say I am? How do we desire to answer?
  • How do you hope to describe your lived relationship with God?

Play MP3

Recorded at St Paul’s, 7.30am (15mins)
Sunday 12, Year C

Video reflection: Life with God (Dan Stevers)
View Presentation Slides.