Jesus speaks in words that his disciples will understand, though even they will need to receive further instruction as to the meaning of the parable that Jesus speaks.
This period of Mystagogy is such a time when it doesn’t matter if stories and doctrines and truths are repeated, and repeated in different ways. That is what Jesus did. In chapter 4 of the Gospel as told by Mark, Jesus recounts several parables and I like the translation of the Ignatius study Bible* which states ‘With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;’
We all learn differently: catechists, catechumens, enquirers, our new catholics, seasoned members of our parish community as well as our clergy. Part of learning is to be able to ask questions, to be able to be mystified and to have time to ponder on aspects of our catholic faith.
- How does your parish provide the opportunity to let people go deeper into scripture or the liturgy?
- How are those embarking on the RCIA process (not a programme) enabled to progress at their pace and time: as the Spirit guides them?
- How are the new catholics encouraged to continue with their ongoing formation and to know it is a lifelong journey?
Over the next year, do a team census of your 2014 new catholics, and those of 2015: Perhaps now and then every 3 months. You will have your own questions, but they could include:-
- Are they still attending Sunday mass?
- Are they developing their way of prayer?
- What formation are they being given or asking for?
- Are they active in the parish community?
- Do they have unanswered questions, and how are they being responded to?
Every farmer will go out to check their harvest, now is the time to check the harvest in the parish. Let’s not lose our new catholics. It is a fact that some of those initiated into our church this easter will not still be attending church come next easter. Let’s find out why and do something about it.
*Ignatius Catholic Stud Bible New testament Second catholic edition
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 4:26-34