Sisters and Brothers, “My soul sings the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God our Savior.” The Canticle of Mary – The Magnificat, Gospel of Luke (1:46-55)
It is through our Blessed+ Redeemer and Creator that I sing with joy in all that life offers each and everyone one of us, and it is through our most precious Christ that we are able to grow beyond our past limitations into the graces offered through the Sacraments; for a movement started long ago continues to breathe new life and infuse inspiration.
Today there are many catholic leaders celebrating the diversity life offers and they are opening their hearts to those who have been cast aside by other less inclusive institutions. They are truly following the examples Jesus, the Christ.
But my heart weighs heavy and my soul labors with grief when I hear reports filled with stories of discrimination, violence or other atrocities committed in the name of a God we humbly serve. Worse yet is when those actions are committed by those who serve the People of God – the leadership and pastors. Sadly, and though they are far and few between, that is exactly what is happening now within faith communities throughout the world.
The Church faithful have been, and continue to be led astray by a hierarchy set on maintaining its own existence than focusing on the teachings and examples given to us by our Lord and Christ. Jesus’ teachings have been made subject to artificial juridical and prejudicial regulations and +His blessings are selectively doled out to those who bow to artificial kings. Church as an institution is becoming more and more focused on politics, organizational matters, legal entities and business than it is about the ministry, life, teachings, and sacramental presence of our Lord. Love, forgiveness, compassion, and truth – the core teachings given to us by Jesus – must once again become primary focus for our pilgrim church; and we must again return to the original salvific vision entrusted to the People of God through the scriptures: a vision of love, compassion, forgiveness and service.
As prefaced in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Pope Paul the VI wrote, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes ; Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965. Boston: Pauline & Media, 1998. Print.)
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, …are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.” “United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every [person]. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with [humankind] and its history by the deepest of bonds.”
We as the Body Faithful must again take into our core beings the call to restore Christ’s Community to a renewed process of evolution and discovery. Our dynamic and growing presence must center on the Love given freely to us by the God who shared life with us through the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of the Christ, Jesus. As canonically independent entities we must again engage the teachings the Christ gave us and espouse ourselves to those concepts which bring us closer in spirit to the Creator God. Acting upon that call we must become loving examples by living +His teachings of Peace, Love, Compassion, and Joy; and we must do so without prejudice or agenda, and without limitations or artificial barriers. It is time, once again, to step into our future as a Postmodern and Emergent Church to renew the call for Universality and become a truly catholic model of service. Together, and through the salvific vision, we may begin to heal the wounds of division.
It is time to again practice those teachings which have been at the core of our ministries. It is time to practice what we preach.
The Very Rev. Kenneth Nelan, OPoc is the pastor of the Sacred Wandering Pastoral Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin. He is also the Servant General of the Order of Preachers, Old Catholic in the Old Catholic Churches International and Vicar General of the Diocese of Saint Catherine of Siena. He host an internet broadcast on sewing sacred vesture and items. He is also the celebrant of the Sunday Mass broadcast by MyOCCI Live.