Most sacramental preparation gatherings begin the year discussing community. Family is usually our first understanding of community. Being a member of a community is important because we innately long for intimate relationships. Where does this longing come from? This longing comes from God. God is not an isolated God, but a God who is also a member of a family—the Holy Trinity. If God is a member of a community, why wouldn’t God want us to be a member of a community? This is how the Church began.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit also had major parts in the creation of the Church. While there were other leaders and prophets who came before Jesus, their job was only to prepare humanity for Jesus, God incarnated. Through Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection we come to know our purpose on earth. Jesus shows us we are not a mere coincidence of nature or an insignificant planet in the universe. We were created out of love. Each person and all of creation individually handcrafted by a loving Creator, who we will return to when our time on earth ends.
Through the sacraments of initiation a person becomes a full member of the Church. These and all the sacraments of the Church allow the Holy Spirit to help us live out Jesus’ same mission, which is to love and serve.
Each person has his/her own vocation within the Church. While all are called to live out Jesus’ mission, different members serve in different ways. Just as Jesus chose twelve men to lead the beginnings of the Church, some male members receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and for the most part these members, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, lead the other members of the Church.
As members of the Church, we are all connected through the Holy Trinity. It doesn’t matter if we are pilgrims on earth, in the purification process, or have already returned to the Creator, as members of the Church we have an eternal membership in the Communion of Saints. This is what makes the Church One and its all -inclusive membership is what makes it catholic.
The Church is truly a gift from God. Through the Church we come to understand our identity, our history, our purpose, our mission and where we will go to once our earthly journey ends. With this realization we can help one another grow spiritually. When we help others realize their vocation (youth groups, sacramental preparation); when we create opportunities where people can reflect and discuss meaningful questions about the purpose of life (baptismal preparation classes, young adult groups, RCIA); when we uplift others’ self-worth and dignity (food banks, soup kitchens, prison ministries, post-abortion retreats) we continue the mission of the Church. While the Church may not be perfect because it is human, it is Holy because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always among the people giving us the courage to live out the Church’s mission.
2015 © Darlyn Gomes. All Rights Reserved.