Thomas G. Cronin
Thomas G. Cronin
Historically, we have viewed third-world countries and those nations with little to no religious liberties as “mission territories.” In my opinion, we have experienced a paradigm shift and we, the United States of America, have become the “mission territory.”

America is a beacon of hope for so many as it relates to economic prosperity with immense opportunities for a better life, but as rich as we are in so many areas, we are spiritually famished. We are in a spiritual war and are fighting battles on multiple fronts: the battle for truth, the battle to live a virtuous life, and the battle for salvation of our souls.

It is not my intent to dramatize our current state of affairs, but to share my opinion based on traveling across our Diocese and listening to priests, parish leaders, parishioners, and all who are willing to share their perspectives. When false gods — money, power, pleasure and activities or hobbies like sports or the arts become more important than knowing and loving Jesus Christ — we need a wakeup call to recalibrate our lifestyles and our focus. 

The first step in addressing this is a personal and critical self-assessment. Self-examination, intentional prayer time and quiet reflection will open our eyes, ears and hearts to God’s call.  The busyness of our world, our technical devices and other distractions make it hard to “find the time” to pray in silence and call upon the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to make judgments and point out the splinter in the eye of our brothers and sisters, but ignore the beam in our own eye. We cannot adequately love others and share our love of Christ with others until we make more room in our hearts. I pray that we are not just a tabernacle privately holding Jesus within us, but a monstrance bearing witness to Christ in how we live each and every day. 

We are commanded to take action as instructed in Matthew 28:19: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Our mission is to journey together more intimately and be the face of Christ to everyone we encounter. Don’t let that overwhelm us — focus on one person at a time and one interaction at a time. We must strive to be more loving and more compassionate to all. This is not easy, but as Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

In these trying times, there are signs of hope and we must stay diligent in living out our mission to be modern-day disciples. I pray that we may accompany and assist those who are burdened. That’s what it means to be a disciple. Galatians 6:2 states, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” To serve one another through love is the message of discipleship that Paul is sharing.

Tom Cronin is the advisor to the Bishop for Evangelization in the Diocese of Albany. Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at [email protected] or by visiting https://www.rcda.
org/evangelization. Follow Tom on Instagram: tom_rcda