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The Church is: The Joy of Being Equal

by Fr. David M. Knight


May 29, 2024

Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Paul VI, Pope

Lectionary 349

1 Pt 1:18-25/Mk 10:32-45

 

In the Church, everyone is equal. No one is higher or lower. As sharers in one and the same divine life (“grace”), we are like the Three Persons, “equal in majesty, undivided in splendor” (Preface for Trinity Sunday). As children of the same Father, none is or should appear to be “higher” or more respected than another. On the level of grace as such, we differ only through our relationships (ways we interact) with each other. These are determined by the “charisms”—gifts, services, activities—each has received, which make no one “more,” because they are simply the Spirit acting differently in each one: “These are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” (1Corinthians 12:4)


It is true that through creeping cultural corruption, for centuries we have represented a false image of the Church, one in contradiction to our faith. The dress and titles of cardinals and bishops, for example, make them appear “higher” than ordinary priests or laity. That is misleading. There is nothing “higher” in the hierarchy. (The word simply means “priest government,” from hieros and arche). But our worldly imitation of royal courts and military has produced the sinful class distinction within the Church that has given the word “hierarchy” its common meaning of “graded levels.” Pope Francis, by his example, has taken steps to abolish this, but it remains an abuse yet to be addressed.


Still, appearances don’t destroy joy. We are all deeply happy to know the truth that by Baptism we were received into the family of God as equal sons and daughters of the Father, equal members of the Body of Christ, equally sacred temples of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is higher, more sacred, or more deserving of respect than what we have all received through Baptism.


ACTION: Re-examine the exclusive signs of respect you show to clergy.


PRAYER: “Lord, make us all one!”


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




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