Monday, Week Twelve: View Today's Readings
The Responsorial (Psalm 33) situates our relationship with God within the context of a whole community’s relationship with God: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
In Genesis 12: 1-9 we see that from the very beginning, when God chose Abraham he was choosing relationship with a community:
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you….
All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.
“Shall find blessing in you” is usually translated “in you shall be blessed.” In Acts 3:25 Peter explains that God sent Jesus to the Jews first because they are the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8 Paul uses the same text to explain why the Gospel is extended to “all nations,” meaning the Gentiles. We who are familiar with Paul’s theme song — “in Christ” and “in him,” which he uses over a hundred times — cannot help seeing this prophecy realized through the incorporation of all the baptized into the body of Christ.
The point to notice is that God blesses us, not just as isolated individuals, but above all as members of a community, the community of the Church. It is a milestone in our spiritual growth to realize that by the very fact of being Christian we have accepted relationship with a community of people and have accepted to deal with God as members of that community. There is no purely individualistic, exclusively one-on-one “Jesus and me” spirituality in Christianity. We need to remember this when we assemble for Mass. Mass is a communal celebration, and to participate authentically we must consciously unite ourselves to others, sitting together and singing, joining readily in communal responses and bodily gestures to help “make it happen.”
Our baptismal consecration as priests commits us to the communal dimension of Christianity. We were consecrated and commissioned to minister to others by giving expression to our faith, our hope, our love.
In Matthew 7: 1-5 Jesus addresses one of the greatest obstacles to that “communion in the Holy Spirit” which is the experience and fruit of Christian community: “Stop judging!” We focus on what we don’t like instead of on what we should stand in awe of. We notice people’s faults and take no notice of their faith. We dwell on what divides us instead of marveling at the faith, the hope, the love that has brought us together. If we can stop this, then we will sing from the heart, Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
Initiative: Be a priest. Accept the koinonia, the “fellowship” of Christian community, and foster it by expressing your faith — and hope, and love. Share with others the grace (life) God is sharing with you.