With each passing generation Christian terms become more and more hollow – ‘salvation’, ‘sacraments’, ‘walls of Jericho’, ‘nativity’ etc to name a few. These terms and many more no longer have an echo of familiarity in the minds of Christians.
Terms and expressions which once formed the cornerstone of Christian identity are but a faint echo and in some cases, there is nothing at all. So too is the expression “becoming missionary disciples” – the theme of the almost concluded Catechetical Month (September). The word ‘disciple’ may still evoke some resonance but hardly the word ‘missionary’.
This should not surprise us since the last available census (2011) puts those who are not into institutional religion at 13.3 per cent – a relatively large figure. Add to that the high percentage of nominal Catholics i.e. who have had little or no faith formation, and we could be heading in the direction of a tabula rasa when it comes to Catholic identity.