Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Birth of Church

Today we celebrate the birth of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church which came into being the moment the Holy Spirit was poured out on them in Pentecost. The first phase of Jesus’s mission was now complete. The whole thing won’t be complete, of course, until his return. 

Someone once asked me, “Do you think he knew what a mess we would make of it?”  I answered, “Yes.”

I think Jesus knew exactly who he was entrusting with His Church. There is only one Church and it is His.  It is not only His Church, but it is also, despite us, still Holy. 

We have to remember that what makes the Church holy is not the sinlessness of her members. It is the presence of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes the Church holy. Is there any one of us who does not sin? We, the members of the Church should never throw up our hands and be resigned to live as sinner. We should always strive to live holy lives. But we should never forget that the Church is a  work of God not ours. 

Hollywood and some others love to present charicatures of the Church, focusing solely on the sins and failings of some individuals. Rarely do we see presented the contributions that we have made to the world: health care, education, human rights, and yes even government and law. There’s a reason we call it a penitentiary. There is a reason why the German word for nurse is derived from “sister.” 

Even those of us who are Catholic can too easily focus on the bad, rather than focus on all of the good that has been done in the world by the body of Christ the Church.

Today is a day for each of us, to give thanks for the gift of the Church which we are blessed to be a part of, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit we have received to guide us.