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What Does It Mean To Be a Church?

Easter is the most important time of the year for us as we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist, Jesus’ Crucifixion, and his Resurrection not as three separate events but one event over three days intimately linked together (for more on this see http://renewaloffaith.org/ls/easter2008.htm).  What we celebrate at Easter defines who we are as Catholics but what are we to do with this?

During our Easter season we read from the Acts of the Apostles that tell the stories of the early church.  When hear the word Church what do you think of?

Do you think of our church building?  Our building is important as the place where come together to worship and pray.  Our church building is part of who we are as Catholics but it does not define us.

Do you think of the church as a parish?  As a parish, we are not just a building. We are a community of believers just as we hear of the early church community in the Acts of the Apostles.

Do you think of the church as an institution?  As Catholics, we have a hierarchical church that functions as an institution in many ways but the church does not exist for itself.

Do you think of the church as something spiritual?  The church is made known to us through our buildings, parish, and institutions but the Church is much more than the this.

As church we have a purpose. That purpose, our mission, is given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19 when he says “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”  If we are not doing this, we are not fulfilling our mission. We need to evangelize our ourselves towards a deeper faith and to evangelize others to come to know our faith (for more on evangelization see http://renewaloffaith.org/basics/disciple/evangelize.htm).

How do live you live out this mission?  have you shared faith with the children around you?  have you shared your faith with your friends?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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