Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial verse tells us: “I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122).
In Ephesians 4: 7-16 Paul gives us reason for rejoicing when we assemble in the “house of the Lord.” Each of us has gifts from God “for … ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Through Jesus acting in each of us, “the whole body grows and builds itself up in love.” We assemble to experience this.
Some have the gift of authority, whose function is to hold the community together, in union with each other and with the Church “catholic,” or “throughout the world.”
Only a few are authorities. But every single member of the community has the gift of leadership, whose function is to move the community forward. Whoever happens to see what needs to be done — whether through inspiration or insight, expertise or experience, or just by chance! — has the duty of making that known and trying to lead the community in the right direction. Authorities should encourage leadership, because it does not undermine authority, but nourishes and supplements it. But whether they do or not, every Christian has the right and duty to keep trying to lead the community into a more authentic embodiment of Gospel goals and values. This is inherent in our baptismal consecration as stewards of the kingship of Christ. No one can take this away from us. No one can dispense us from it.
In Luke 13: 1-9 Jesus makes it clear that we must all take responsibility for reforming the Church — in every age. The Church as a whole will eventually survive and triumph; Jesus has promised that. But Christianity can decline or die in any particular place or time. We have seen once-Christian countries swallowed up by apostasy and atheism. In some instances, separation of Church and state, which is wise and good, has been distorted into militant secularism, into government-sponsored opposition to religious values as such. We can hear Jesus saying to us, “Unless you reform, you will all come to the same end.”
Who is responsible for bringing about reform? Everyone who has been consecrated by Baptism as a “steward of the kingship of Christ.” We all have to ask if Jesus could be talking about us when he says, “For… years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?“ If we are just taking up space in the pews, someday we may find that we don’t have enough faith even to do that.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. React against anything that keeps people from “rejoicing when they go to the house of the Lord.”
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