Catechetical Sunday: a chance to rededicate to the Gospel message

The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, “Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word,” offers wonderful opportunities for recognizing the significance and importance of allowing the Word to come alive in each one’s daily life as it has in the life of Mary. 
It is important for Catholics in general and catechists in particular to continue to rediscover the wisdom and witness of the Mother of the Lord. As in all of Christian life, Mary is our model and our mentor.  With the Annunciation, Mary is the first to hear the Gospel and take it to heart. The Word that she welcomes into her life by her fiat is not only enfleshed in her womb; it is embodied in her life.
Thus it is that Mary becomes the first Christian disciple. But there is more. In the story of the Visitation, the first Christian disciple becomes the first Christian missionary who hastens to share – not her good news, but the Good News – with her kinswoman Elizabeth.  Elizabeth in turn declares Mary doubly blessed: for her unique privilege of being the Mother of the Lord, but even more for her faith in the Word, spoken to her by the Lord.
When Mary responds to Elizabeth’s greeting with the canticle known as the Magnificat, she shows herself to be not only the first Christian disciple and the first Christian missionary, but also the first Christian catechist.
The Magnificat is a model of catechesis. First, it is biblical. It echoes the canticle of Hannah (1 Sm 2:1-10), and it also evokes the Exodus story in its declaration of the new “great things” that the Mighty One has done, in Mary and through her Son, for the salvation of God’s people.
The Magnificat is a song of praise, a prayer and a proclamation. It is also a confident cry for justice for the powerless and the poor, praising God for lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry with good things (1:52-53).
Finally, the whole canticle pulses with joyful hope as it looks to the eschatological future. Mary’s embrace of the Word of God is not unquestioning or uncritical. Luke describes her pondering—not once, but over and over again—the unfolding revelation that transforms her life (Lk 2:19, 51). Luke also writes of Mary’s appearance with her family at the edge of a crowd listening to Jesus (Lk 8:19-21).
He is teaching in parables and has just likened those who, having heard the Word, “embrace it with a generous and good heart” to “the seed that fell on good soil” (8:15). Then, learning that his Mother is in the crowd, he exclaims, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (8:21). May we learn from Mary so that he may say the same of us.

About Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20
Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20, will focus on the theme, “Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word.”
Those who have been designated by the community to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry.
Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to reflect upon the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.