Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Who Is My Neighbor in Church?

A very different moment in the life of Jesus when compared to his chiding the folks from three of the cities where he had done much preaching.  Today it is a reversal:  he speaks about those who have followed him faithfully with much warmth.  In truth Jesus is praising those who have been true to his teachings.

However, Jesus does make a distinction in describing those who are faithful.  The learned and clever do not fare well.  It is the "merest children" who receive his adulation.  These, his disciples, have accepted the graces offered by the Father to understand the secrets of heaven.

What we can see in these few words of Jesus is a description of the early days of growth in the new Church.  It was among the ordinary, the simple, unsophisticated that Jesus did most of his preaching.  It would only be later that what we know as Christianity began to accepted by the ruling and intellectual class.

What Jesus is teaching is that his Church, willed by his Father, is to be catholic, universal: poor folks, wealthy families, educated individuals and not so well educated people formed the Church as it grew.  A look at almost any parish today, especially at a Sunday Mass, is a similar experience.  People of every social level share the same pew in our churches.  People of every color; people of every language: this is the flavor of the Church today.

Lastly, Jesus is teaching us that he will lead us to his Father if we so desire.  It is his gift to us if we wish to accept it.  Every day Jesus comes to our heart, knocking, we might say, for us to open ourselves to his graces and gifts.  The choice is ours.  The extent to which I hope my heart to his teaching, his words, is entirely up to me.

In the first scripture reading today, God selecting Moses to lead his people, calls us to remember that God may call anyone of us to roles of leadership in our communities regardless of our past.  God looks at us as we are today and with a keener sense of our future than we ourselves might possess.