As Americans we have always prized the individual. The same tendency can easily enter into our religious practice. We easily understand ourselves as individuals before God but have more difficulty recognizing ourselves as being a part of God's people. We take little notice of others even when we worship unless they are disturbing our private prayer and thoughts. A further sad result is a loss of feeling responsible for and with others for what is good or bad for the community.
Paul addressed the Corinthians as 11the church of God which is in Corinth"-a not too subtle way of reminding them that the church of God was bigger than their numbers, their talents and their problems; and, that they had a responsibility to be "holy with all those everywhere who call upon the name of Jesus."
So, too, for us. We are part of the parish family of St. John Fisher in Marlborough which is part of the Church of God, which is in the Archdiocese of Hartford, which is in Region I, which is in the United States, which is in North America, which is in the Roman Catholic Church, which goes back in time to Peter and Paul and the Lamb of God recognized and proclaimed by John, the last of the prophets of Israel.
The waters of our personal baptism are part of a mighty river flowing through time and space, joining us to countless numbers of other believers. Being a part of something so vast does not diminish our individuality or personal importance before God. Instead, it should serve as an inspiration and support as we live out the Gospel. We too are called to be a light to nations, not just as individuals, but as a Church, God's people. It isn't just the priests or bishops who
are the face of the Church in the world. Every one of you is as well. When people said, "See how these Christians love one another," they were talking about the community. Some priests and a few bishops have marred the reputation and credibility of the Church in the eyes of others; but its reputation and credibility also depend on you, perhaps more so today than in any period of the Church's history.
About 30 years ago, I received a call from someone who was irate. A person had cut in line at a doughnut shop so he or she could get to Mass on time. The caller wanted to know what we were teaching the people in our parish. The behavior witnessed was rude and unchristian. That person unfortunately became the face of the Catholic Church to the caller.
What does your behavior say to others about the Church?
Fr. Sas, excerpts from January 19 Homily
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A