Blog # 476 Living as the Body of Christ
Before we forget, I thought it might be good to have a blog that would help us guarantee the benefits Lent offered us as a believing community. In the early Church Lent was a time for the intensive preparation of those getting ready for Baptism and those who were to be reconciled to the Church by public penance. In recent years, we have been trying to focus again this identity for ourselves. Through Baptism we are united to Christ and through Him to one another in a new supernatural life..
Lent is a community experience in which the whole Church is interested and involved. It is the work and mission of Jesus today, sent by the Father for the salvation of all people. Lent calls us to the love Jesus gave the Father on the Cross, and the love the Father gave Jesus in the Resurrection.
Before the renewal of the liturgy and Christian life that came from Vatican 11, there was a different emphasis. Rather than being a time for focusing mainly upon the mission of Jesus shared with us, the emphasis tended to be upon works of penance to 'make up' for our individual sins. The emphasis seemed to be upon individual effort rather then on the effort of the community, His Body, the Church. More frequent Mass attendance was seen as an act of penance rather than an act
seeking growth in holiness. The two are related, it is true, but there seemed to be a greater emphasis on one over the other.
Since Vatican 11, the Church has been trying to acquaint us with the insights and experiences of the early believers in Jesus, and to hear His call to us as He called His original disciples to be one with Him in in His mission from the Father to bring light, truth, and divine love into the world, beginning with our own minds and hearts.
As members of the Church there is a connection between what we do as individuals and what we do as united in the one Body of Christ. So strong and definite is this connection that all that we do should be done, in our awareness of it and in our intentions in doing it, in union with Jesus and one another as a sharing in His mission as Savior of the world.
Sadly, such a vision, though clearly grounded in our Catholic theology and in the Scriptures. does not seem to be commonly and clearly experienced by many, even of those who are faithful to attendance at Mass and efforts to live a Christian way of life.
Yet without such a vision and an awareness of its implications in our everyday experience of faith and life, our moral goodness , our honesty, concern for the poor, and even our prayer can be much the same as those of other human beings throughout the world who strive in the name of the
God of Islam, of Israel, or of Buddha.. Without such a vision we are less than mission minded and the truth about Jesus and His glory is less well known, appreciated, and effective.
We need the experience of Peter, James, and John in the Gospel story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. We need to be convinced again in the divinity of Jesus. Without Jesus, as God's Son, we are without the full meaning of creation. Without a personal relationship with Jesus in our everyday experience of life, in our prayers, in our relationships with one another, we are
missing something of the reality of God's plan for us, and the joy peace and love the Father desires to share with us all.
"This is my Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him." We need to be constantly reassessing and reconfirming our belief in the divinity of Jesus in order to listen to Him. In the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain the Father wishes to identify His Son not only for Peter James and John but for us. With the grace of our faith in the Transfiguration of Jesus as our base, let's establish His identity again today, so that we can listen to His call and follow, together as a community of faith, members of His Body, branches on the Vine, one in faith hope and love.