Skip Navigation Links
Skip Navigation Links
Home - Articles - Christian Laity - Jewels in the Crown of Salvation - by Andre Gomes
Articles Tell a Friend
Back
       
Christian Laity - Jewels in the Crown of Salvation - by Andre Gomes  
  Posted On : 30 Jun 2018   Posted by Fr. Andre Gomes (Gonsalo Garcia Community)  
 

Christian Laity - Jewels in the Crown of Salvation - by Andre Gomes


Catholics world over have been discovering their pride of place in the Church. The Church, the mystical body of Christ is made up of many members, each uniquely blessed with diverse characteristics – yet unified by his or her baptism in the faith. The Catholic Church bestows upon the baptised, the great honour of being prophet, priest and king. This implies that every individual baptised in the Catholic Church would share in these three ministries. While ordained ministers have a special ministerial role to play in the Church of Christ, the lay faithful too have a moral obligation to be active members of the body of Christ in the temporal world. Vatican Council II was pivotal in helping rediscover the Church as the ‘People of God’. This was the initial premise upon which the Church was founded 2000 years ago, which then began as a community of Jesus’ disciples, each rather different but with the same dignity of purpose and commitment. The mission was and remains the same – that of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom of God. It is to this calling that we Christians are, and should be, “Jewels in the Crown of Salvation”.


Lay vocation envisioned by Vatican II:

The Vatican Council II document Lumen Gentium describes the nature of the Church as that of a sacrament of communion with God and of unity with all people. It describes the Church as “Trinitarian”, that is a people formed as one by the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Vatican Council II deems that the laity:
i) Be incorporated into and participates in the Church, as a sacrament of communion with God and with all the people
ii) Be joined to Christ, as well as in the triune life of God with all the members of the Church
iii) Be called and sent to participate in the mission of proclaiming and establishing the kingdom of God on earth

In doing so, the laity would ensure that all of humanity might partake in redemption and salvation.

The 21st century Church:

The 20th century witnessed rapid developments in the field of science and consumerism. Population grew exponentially while the world appeared smaller. The penetration of communication media into homes and work places influenced thought and decision. Needs became wants and wants became desires, all of which then became objects of pleasure and happiness. Man’s satisfaction quotient changed by the minute and yet man never seems satisfied. The human person too was being witnessed as an object of greed, lust, ownership and brutality. Today in the 21st century, people stand entangled in the web of pseudo-happiness – one that is temporal and ego-centric. The Church may well be witnessing a people who though religious in observance, are worldly by nature. We are no longer an “us” people, but rather and “I”, “me” and “myself” people. The laity has a great role to play in the world today, than ever before, and people can achieve greater purpose in their Christian walk if they usher in the spirit of communion as one people of God.


The call to Koinonia:

Koinonia in Greek means “communion”. The Catholic Church is Koinonia by nature, drawn from the Blessed Trinity. Created by God the Father, saved in faith by Jesus and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the faithful are called to a communion of “love” and “service” at all times in their lives. So while the faithful recognise the precepts under which Christ established His Church, revering Episcopal and Priestly ministries governed by Gospel teachings and adhering to traditions of the fathers of the Church, the laity is called to co-exist in Koinonia.

The Church today stands as a treasure trove in the wealth of wisdom and experience available with both the laity and the religious. The Church beckons to her people in the Spirit of Jesus to draw nearer as one body of Christ, each with her or his God given talent. Called to be soldiers for Christ, the faithful though challenged by diversity in thought surrounding them must be emboldened in their walk, strengthened in their faith and serve as witnesses of holiness and of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. In doing so, the faithful takes the message of Jesus Christ centre-stage, rendering it more effective and a reliable solution to everyday problems in the world. This calls for the active participation of both the laity and the religious in parishes and an enabling of the clergy to interact with people entrusted to their care. Koinonia does not begin and end with our communion in liturgical celebrations within the Church, but goes beyond the four walls of our Church and into the communities in which we live.


Jewels in the crown of salvation:

We live in a world that is largely driven by materialism and the pursuit of worldly pleasures. In these challenging times, the Christians laity is called to strengthen its faith, focus on the centrality of the Word of God and on the Holy Eucharist. We are the pearls of great price, whose salvation has been purchased by God the Father through the death of Christ on the cross. As priceless jewels, we need to be of value to others. The apostle Mathew gives us an important aspect of Christian living - “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mathew 5:14, NRSV). Every Christian is called to be an authentic witness of the faith in both word and deed. Living in a land of religious diversity, the laity are called to exhibit Christian spirit in our walk and our talk, in our daily living, in our prayer lives and in our living out the Gospel values. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mathew 5:16 NRSV). The late Pope John Paul II was optimistic in saying that the laity in forming Christian communities can become heralds of salvation.


Role of the lay faithful:

All baptised Christians are called to minister to people around them in love and service. The laity is called to join hands with people from different walks of life and deal with issues plaguing their lives. These could be on civic, political, social, moral and environmental issues, where the laity should take up active roles and usher in Christian values of love, forgiveness, charity, peace and hope. The Christian faithful must not shy away from adopting modern channels of communication and mass-media, to reach out to a world driven by erroneous thinking and immoral values. If St. Paul could find merit in communicating God’s message of love and healing through his many letters 2000 years ago, can we not use the power of social media to reach out in these times?

It is imperative that the laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation. However, this must be accomplished in the light of the Gospel, with the guidance and mind of the Church and inspired by Christian charity. This would involve a confluence of culture, of society and of all aspects of the kingdom of man with the "higher principles of Christian life" (Apostolicam Actuositatem {AA}, 7). The late (St.) Pope John Paul II wrote that "in particular, the lay faithful are called to restore to creation all its original value" (Christifidelis Laici, 14). This task is not just the priority of priests or religious; in fact, they may not be perfectly disposed or entirely capable of such activity. The laity can properly perform this crucial activity, by virtue of their skills in the marketplace, in various institutions of society and in their very co-existence with people around them. "The apostolate in the social milieu, that is, the effort to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which one lives, is so much the duty and responsibility of the laity that it can never be performed properly by others" (AA 13). In other words, the laity needs to realize they have important work to do, and the time to start that work is now.


Reflection:

“The laity should not feel apart from the church, but rather at the heart of the church. This is the time when the church needs to be united to answer fundamental questions about society.” While the structure of the Church may be hierarchical to guide, preserve and enhance the faith of her people; the ‘life’ of the Church must be communitarian. So while apostolic authority plays the role of the Good Shepherd guiding the flock, the active involvement of the faithful is essential to the life of the Church. The active participation of the laity – “Jewels in the crown of salvation”, would ensure lively mediating platforms, a robust forum of thought processes and a clear understanding of the humanitarian, moral, social, economic and civil needs, thereby fulfilling the three-fold office of the Church; of governing, teaching and sanctifying. AMEN!
***
[NB: This article is intended for St. Joseph’s Church, Mira Road website only. No part of this article may be reproduced, distributed, performed or otherwise displayed, without the prior written permission of the above author.]

 
     
 
 EDITORIAL
Articles
Sermons
Publication
     
 
A Matter Of Style
Posted On : 21 Sep 2016  
Posted by Fr. Fr. Daniel Christian
 
FAMILY – GOD’S FUNDAMENTAL INSTITUTION.
Posted On : 04 Jan 2017  
Posted by Fr. Editorial
 
Homily 7th Oct 2018 by  Fr Melwyn
Date: 07 Oct 2018
Homily 30th Sept 2018 by  Fr Lancy
Date: 30 Sep 2018
Homily 23rd Sept 2018 by  Fr.Nelson Cardoza
Date: 23 Sep 2018
 
 
Daily Readings
 March 24th, 2019
EX 17:3-7
Thought of the day
    March 24th, 2019 EX 17:3-7 Third Sunday of Lent – Year A Readings Lectionary: 28 Reading In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?" So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? a little more and they will stone me!" The LORD answered Moses, "Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink." This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel. The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD in our midst or not?" Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9. R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him. R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Oh, that today you would hear his voice: "Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works." R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Reading 2 ROM 5:1-2, 5-8 Brothers and sisters: Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Verse Before The Gospel CF. JN 4:42, 15 Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me living water, that I may never thirst again. Gospel JN 4:5-42 Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, ' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." Jesus said to her, "Go call your husband and come back." The woman answered and said to him, "I do not have a husband." Jesus answered her, "You are right in saying, 'I do not have a husband.' For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one speaking with you." At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, "What are you looking for?" or "Why are you talking with her?" The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?" They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Could someone have brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'In four months the harvest will be here'? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work." Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me everything I have done." When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world." Or JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42 Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, ' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water. "I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking with you." Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."
     
St. Joseph church, Krista Shanti Dham; St. Joseph Nagar; Mira Road (East) Thane District - 401107
Email : sjcocd@gmail.com
 
   
Copyright@joseph church. All rights reserved.tr> Copyright@joseph church. All rights reserved.
Designed and Developed by www.kiteindia.com