It’s Day 107!!
We are talking about THE CHURCH’S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION, AND MISSION
From the moment of The Fall, God’s plan was the Church
The moment we broke away from the Lord in rebellion
We also broke our own hearts
We also broke our relationships with each other
Paragraph 759 says, “‘The Father…determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.’”
God’s love doesn’t stop or waver
Originally Plan A was that we were created with original justice, original holiness, and in right relationship with God
Because of the introduction of sin into the world, God immediately…
The Church is A PLAN BORN IN THE FATHER’S HEART
Paragraph 759 continues, “Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the spirit, [the Church] will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.’”
THE CHURCH-FORESHADOWED FROM THE WORLD’S BEGINNING
THE CHURCH-PREPARED FOR IN THE OLD COVENANT
THE CHURCH-INSTITUTED BY CHRIST JESUS
The People of God were brought into relationship with the Lord in the Old Testament
God has revealed Himself slowly over time
Remember that God doesn’t do JUST that
He reveals Himself AND He brings people together
He makes a CONVOCATION
He creates a PEOPLE
He doesn’t JUST create individuals
The people are called to dwell in covenant with HIM
They are also called to dwell in covenant with EACH OTHER
So there we have it!!
JESUS CHRIST ESTABLISHED THE CHURCH!!
A PLAN BORN IN THE FATHER’S HEART
Paragraph 759 says, “‘The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness…”
God is just completely GRACE
God is LOVE FOR US
God wants to share His own divine life
THAT IS SO KEY!!
Paragraph 759 continues, “‘The Father…determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.’ This ‘family of God’ is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan.”
Paragraph 760 says, “Christians of the first centuries said, ‘The world was created for the sake of the Church.’ God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the ‘convocation’ of men in Christ, and this ‘convocation’ is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things.”
Isn’t that remarkable?
When we say the Church is the goal of all things we sometimes think of the THIRD LEVEL of the Church like the local parish, the structure, or the building
That is not what the Catechism is saying here
The Church meaning THE FAMILY OF GOD
THE TEMPLE OF GOD
THE PEOPLE OF GOD
THIS IS THE GOAL OF THE ENTIRE WORLD!!
IT IS THE GOAL OF ALL THINGS!!
Paragraph 760 continues, “God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels’ fall and man’s sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world…”
Isn’t that amazing?
Why did God ALLOW the angels to rebel?
Why did God ALLOW Adam and Eve to reject Him?
Why does God ALLOW sin in the world?
He does it AS OCCASIONS AND MEANS FOR DISPLAYING ALL THE POWER OF HIS ARM
St. Clement of Alexandria says in Paragraph 760, “Just as God’s will is creation and is called ‘the world,’ so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called ‘the Church.’”
Not only does God PLAN for this in the depth of His heart
Bringing ALL PEOPLE into relationship with Him
He accomplishes this
THE CHURCH-PREPARED FOR IN THE OLD COVENANT
There are TWO TYPES of preparation: REMOTE and IMMEDIATE
St. John Paul II talked about getting ready for marriage
There is the REMOTE PREPARATION i.e when you see other couples in relationship like your parents, friends, etc. and you see what it looks like
There is the PROXIMATE PREPARATION i.e when you start dating and realize who you are in relation to others
Then there is the IMMEDIATE PREPARATION i.e when you get engaged
Paragraph 762 says, “The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people. Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God.”
Not only Isaac and Jacob
But Moses and the Mosaic Covenant when God sets His People free from slavery in Egypt
God brought them to Mt Sinai and establishes the Mosaic Covenant
Even after God established this covenant with the people, they broke the covenant
Paragraph 762 continues, “But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. ‘Christ instituted this New Covenant.’”
THE CHURCH-INSTITUTED BY CHRIST JESUS
This is why Christ came
God wills the salvation of every person who ever has lived, does live, or ever will live
How does God accomplish this salvation?
How does that salvation come to us?
THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH!!
This is not a recent invention
This is the invention born from the Father’s heart from the very beginning of time
It was established and instituted in Christ’s earthly life
Paragraph 763 says, “It was the Son’s task to accomplish the Father’s plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. ‘The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures.’ To fulfill the Father’s will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church ‘is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.’”
THIS IS SO KEY FOR US!!
Years ago there was a rabbi who examined the case for Jesus being the Messiah
He said there’s a great case for Jesus being the Messiah
He fulfills every one of the Messianic promises…
Except for one
The Messiah was to usher in THE KINGDOM
The rabbi doesn’t see a kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI wrote a book called JESUS OF NAZARETH
There IS a Kingdom and it is called THE CHURCH
Throughout the whole New Testament here is God gathering a people together to Himself
This is fulfilled when Jesus gathers the people
ESPECIALLY THE 12 APOSTLES WITH PETER AS THE HEAD!!
Paragraph 765 says, “The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ’s mission and his power, but also in his lot.”
THE KINGDOM IS VISIBLE!!
THE CHURCH IS VISIBLE!!
We sometimes fall into a trap by saying there is a certain sense where the Church is invisible
We human beings have bodies that are visible and souls that are invisible
So there is an invisible aspect to the Church just like there is an invisible aspect to us
There is clearly a visible aspect to us and a visible aspect to the Church
The Twelve and all the other disciples share in Christ’s mission and His power
That is not just the Twelve
That is also the rest of the Church until the end of time on earth
WE SHARE IN CHRIST’S MISSION
WE SHARE IN CHRIST’S POWER
WE SHARE IN CHRIST’S LOT
THIS SO SO IMPORTANT!!
We have to share in Christ’s SUFFERING if we are going to share in His GLORY
We have to share in Christ’s CROSS if we are going to share in His POWER
We have to share in Christ’s AGONY if we are going to share in His MISSION
This is the origin of the Church
Paragraph 766 says, “The Church is born primarily of Christ’s total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. ‘The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus.’ For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the ‘wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.’”
When Jesus was on the Cross, His side was pierced by a lance
Blood and water flowed out
Christians have ALWAYS interpreted that as WATER = BAPTISM and BLOOD = EUCHARIST
THIS IS THE BIRTH OF THE WHOLE CHURCH!!
How are we brought into the Church?
Through Baptism…THE WATER
How are we sustained, strengthened, and fed in the Church?
Through the Eucharist…THE BLOOD
Paragraph 766 continues, “As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam’s side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead from the cross.”
THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!
For those who think the Church is a human invention…
IT IS NOT A HUMAN INVENTION!!
It springs forth from the heart of the Father
And then in time it truly comes forth from the heart of Jesus Christ on the cross
It was the intention of God from the very beginning to create a Church
It is one of the reasons we KNOW that the Church is NOT man-made
THE CHURCH IS GOD-MADE!!
We give God thanks for that
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!