THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Monday, September 21st, 2015
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Liturgical texts here
THERE is a model of the Church today that is long overdue for an overhaul. And it is this: that the pastor of the parish is the “minister” and the flock are mere sheep; that the priest is the “go to” for all ministry needs, and the laity have no real place in ministry; that there are the occasional “speakers” who come to teach, but we are mere passive listeners. But this model is not only unbiblical, it is harmful to the Body of Christ.
In today’s first reading, St. Paul says,
…grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ…
Every single one of us who have been baptized have received a share in Christ’s mission: “you were also called.” cf. first reading And Paul makes the point that Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given to the Body of Christ in order to “equip the holy ones for the work of ministry.” That is, the work of those in ministry is to enable the other members of the Body of Christ to also become effective ministers according to “the measure of Christ’s gift.”
If your parish is anemic, lifeless, lacking in gifts, creativity, and growth, the reason may very well be that it has adopted the “single source” model where the pastor is expected to be the font of all grace, whilst the sheep file in and out each Sunday as their sole sacred duty. The priest is, to be sure, the indispensable minister of the Sacraments—without the priesthood, there is no Church. But it is unfair to expect from this man the operation of every charism, for St. Paul is clear that there is one body, but many gifts, poured out where the Holy Spirit is welcomed:
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. (1 Cor 12:7-11)
So tell me, dear brothers and sisters, who is the one in your parish who has been given expressions of wisdom or knowledge? Who are the ones who have been given inspirational faith? Who has the gifts of healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and their interpretation? If these questions cannot be answered, then you have already begun to identify the crisis that exists in most Catholic parishes in our times…
When the Church does not empower the laity, she is no longer a mother but a babysitter who puts the baby to sleep. She is a dormant Church. —POPE FRANCIS, A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings, p. 184
May each of us hear Jesus calling us personally today, as He did Matthew in the Gospel: “Follow Me”.
Charismatic? A seven part series to awaken again the need for the Holy Spirit
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“Tour of Truth”
• September 21: Encounter With Jesus, St. John of the Cross, Lacombe, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 22: Encounter With Jesus, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Chalmette, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 24: Encounter With Jesus, Mater Dolorosa, New Orleans, LA USA, 7:30 pm
• September 25: Encounter With Jesus, St. Rita’s, Harahan, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 27: Encounter With Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, New Orleans, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 28: “On Weathering the Storm”, Mark Mallett with Charlie Johnston, Fleur de Lis Centre, Mandeville, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 29: Encounter With Jesus, St. Joseph’s, 100 E. Milton, Lafayette, LA USA, 7:00 pm
• September 30: Encounter With Jesus, St. Joseph’s, Galliano, LA USA, 7:00 pm
Mark will be playing the gorgeous sounding
McGillivray hand-made acoustic guitar.
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