It may sound obvious – Jesus at the heart of the process – but we need to be reminded of this! Jesus is at the heart of initiation into the Christian community, and its life. If we don’t heed this reminder, we can slip into ‘Roman Catholic’ initiation of Adults as a priority and get bogged down in concern about doctrinal ‘content’ ahead of introducing the person of Jesus. This principle No.2 is central to ‘doctrinal practice or process‘. Content and process are of course inseparable – Jesus is at the heart of both. We proclaim Jesus, his life, death and resurrection, through first of all our witness as individual believers and as a community of faith, listening and responding to the enquirer wherever and whenever we meet them, out and about in the various circumstances of their and our lives. That is a ‘doctrinal’ way of behaving, i.e. the process of evangelisation is described in the catechism and the general directory for catechesis, as well as being rooted in the scriptures and whole documents of church doctrine down the ages. The ‘doctrinal content’ is gradually revealed in a life-long process of conversion – beginning in enquiry and evangelisation, and growing and changing through catechesis – catechesis in the way Christians live as community, catechesis of encounter with Father, Son and Holy Spirit through openness to God’s Word in Scripture; catechesis (par excellence) of encounter with Christ in the Liturgy; catechesis of encounter with Jesus through compassionate awareness of the needs of others and loving service in response. ‘When did we see you? What you did to the least of these little ones you did to me.’
Jesus is at the heart of our lives as Christians! ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’. Obviously, but oh! how wondrous too. So it is very good to keep this principle at the forefront of our minds when we are praying and preparing and engaging in catechesis over the weeks and months ahead.
- To ask ourselves, perhaps: What of significance does a relationship with Jesus give me? Why is Jesus at the centre of my life?
- And then, perhaps… we are doubly encouraged and enabled to accompany others on their journey of faith, with Jesus at the heart of the process, knowing, first hand, what of significance Jesus offers them too.
My faith is this: that what we could not do, our God has done in Jesus Christ. That God holds fast the deep astonishing goodness of his dear children and keeps them safe forever.
Adapted from David L Bartlett homily on Romans 8:38-39