As catechetical leaders, we want to begin the year by encouraging and blessing those men and women who have accepted the invitation to join your team in the important ministry of sharing faith.
I thought that I would focus this month on a story from Mark’s Gospel about of a man who was encouraged to change his life and join Jesus and his disciples. The man in the story seems to be confused and worried about this call. Ultimately, we don’t know exactly what he did with this “invitation” to serve.
As catechetical leaders, we face similar unknowns. We never know for sure if the individual we invite to join the catechetical ministry will walk away confused and worried.
When called to new tasks—a new job, relocating, going back to school—we spend a good amount of time thinking and praying about our options and challenges.
Pray with your group today about their own call—their hopes, fears, and concerns. Assure them in today’s prayer that their worries are not uncommon and that you are with them in this special ministry.
Reading: Mark 10:17-22
Leader: The young man in this Gospel comes to Jesus asking what he should do to achieve eternal life. He wants to know what he needs to do to follow what God asks of him. Jesus tells him that what he has done is very good the young man wants to do even more. Jesus then tells him that if he seeks to do more he should sell all that he has, give to the poor, come and follow him. The young man goes away sad because he has many possessions.
Have you ever wondered what the young man does next? Does he continue his journey with regrets, wishing he’d never had that conversation with Jesus? Does he give Jesus’ invitation thought and prayer and decide that it’s just too demanding? Or does he give away all he has and rush to the gate of the city to catch up with Jesus and his followers?
Maybe, for the first time in his life, this young man toils. Maybe, for the first time in his life, he gives his own food to one who is hungry. Maybe, for the first time in his life, he holds the hand of one who is sick and prays. Maybe, for the first time in his life, he finds true joy in serving. Although he bears a yoke of labor, his yoke is easy. Although he carries a burden, his burden is light. All this because he shares his labor with a community of friends and believers, a community that prays together, supports one another, and rejoices in serving the needs of others.
Think about a time you were called to a new task. (Allow a minute of quiet reflection.)
Can you share about the invitation you received to be a catechist and what helped you to make your decision? Can you share what you have received in the decision you made?
(You may want to begin by sharing your own story, or talk with someone in your group ahead of time about sharing his or her story.)
Closing Prayer: Holy God, we pray for the newcomers in our group. We ask you to give them confidence in the work they take on and to know that we are always available to support their efforts.
We ask that you be with us as we begin this new year in the ministry of catechesis.
We pray that we may accept our work with you and confidence.
We ask all this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Now share with one another a sign of welcome and peace.
(If this is your first gathering prayer, you may want to encourage catechists to bring their teacher manuals and other teaching tools, and invite your pastor to join you and to bless the books, tools, and all present.)
Mary is the Pastoral Associate for Religious Education and Liturgical Education for Holy Trinity Parish in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).