So there we are!!
CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THIS BODY
Paragraph 792 says, “[Jesus] is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father’s glory, ‘in everything he [is] preeminent,’ especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things.”
Why is that the case?
Remember Matthew’s Gospel
The refrain Jesus is constantly proclaiming is “THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.”
That means the REIGN OF GOD IS AT HAND
How does the grace of Jesus Christ that He won for us through His life, Death, and Resurrection come to us?
THROUGH HIS CHURCH!!
THROUGH HIS BODY ON EARTH!!
THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT HE HAS GIVEN TO US!!
As often as the Church continues to grow and bring God’s Grace to the world, Christ’s preeminence is made present and real on this Earth
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 793 says, “Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble him, ‘until Christ be formed’ in them. ‘For this reason we…are taken up into the mysteries of his life,...associated with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with him we may be glorified.’”
WHAT A MASSIVE CALL!!
Our lives need to be patterned after the life of Jesus
Not to say we have to all live in the Middle East
We have to live those VIRTUES that Jesus lived
We have to have the same kind of HEART that Jesus had
We have to unite OUR sufferings with HIM
We are the BODY OF CHRIST
When we suffer, it gives God GLORY
This is the mystery
We will talk about the mystery of suffering later
Remember that Jesus Christ accomplished the salvation of the world THROUGH HIS SUFFERING
AND THROUGH DYING
AND THROUGH CONQUERING DEATH THROUGH HIS RESURRECTION
If we are the Body of Christ then we suffer WITH HIM
We also experience glory with Him as well
It has often been said, “No cross, no crown”
There is no glorification or Resurrection unless there is the suffering and death
We are not called to say we belong to the Church
We are called to ENTER INTO HIS LIFE DEATH AND RESURRECTION IN OUR LIVES
We don’t do this on our own…
Paragraph 794 says, “Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head, he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation.”
SO SO IMPORTANT!!
We have this MASSIVE CALL
We aren’t just members of this club
We have been brought into this relationship where we have been configured to Jesus SO FULLY we are not just made Christians
In this MYSTERIOUS WAY we have been made CHRIST HIMSELF
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
The first Christians in the early centuries of Christianity saw an unbreakable and indispensable union between belonging to Christ and belonging to the Church
St. Joan of Arc was on trial by church and government officials
It was a mess
The Church is not guiltless
Yes the Church is the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ
Those who hear the Church hear Jesus Christ
At the same time…
There has been some great messiness in the Church
St. Joan of Arc is on this quasi Church and quasi civil trial
She is being examined and cross examined
They asked her about the Church and Jesus
This woman has been unjustly tried by this unjust church court
St. Joan of Arc says in Paragraph 795, “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”
For anyone who has been hurt by members of the Church or the institution of the Church, to have that same kind of faith as St. Joan of Arc
As she is facing execution and death she is able to declare that
WHAT A GREAT WITNESS TO FAITH!!
At the cost of her own life even though she recognized that the church was broken, the Church is still the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ
Paragraph 796 says, “The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.”
How did the ancient prophets talk about the relationship between the covenant People of God and God Himself?
It was through the relationship of MARRIAGE
The Book of the Prophet Hosea talked about how Hosea married Gomer, the prostitute who was unfaithful to him
She was still his BRIDE and he was still her GROOM
So that was laying the FOUNDATION
Then the Lord Himself referred to Himself as The Bridegroom
Paragraph 796 continues, “The Apostle (St. Paul) speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride ‘betrothed’ to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him…‘Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.’”
The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb
SO SO IMPORTANT!!
Because we can maintain an argument for the veracity for the institutional Church
Let’s get past that for a second
Recognize the depth to which God Himself LOVES YOU
By calling you more deeply into His Church
Which is the call of LOVE
The call to be even more conformed to Him as His Body
And the call to allow ourselves to be loved by Him as HIS BRIDE
He has loved us and poured Himself out for us as a Bridegroom laying down His life for His Bride
That is YOU
That is ME
That is ALL OF US
That is RIGHT NOW
“Oh my goodness, Lord! As you have made me a Christian, you made me another Christ. You have made me part of your Body. But also you have betrothed yourself to me.”
The Lord God has chosen YOU out of ALL ETERNITY
The Lord God has chosen YOU to be HIS BRIDE and loves you with a UNIQUE, ETERNAL, INFINITE, INCREDIBLE LOVE
So ask God to help you receive that love today and to live in that love today
We are the Body of Christ
We are the Bride of Christ
So we pray for each other as brothers and sisters
We pray for each other as fellow travelers
We pray for each other as fellow strugglers and sinners
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!