A Christian Needs a Community

A really great homily at mass today.  There were three points that really stood out for me:

First, today’s reading from Isaiah (Is 66:10-14) should be read through the lens of the Suffering Servant.  Although chapter 66 isn’t considered one of the Suffering Servant passages, it can make sense to read it as a message of consolation from the one who suffered to redeem us.  This ties it to the second reading, from the letter to the Galatians, in which St. Paul makes his famous boast in the cross of Jesus (Gal 6:14-18).  Why else would you boast of something so horrifying as a crucifixion unless there is some consolation that comes from it, just as promised in Isaiah.  I found this to be an interesting way to break open Isiah (probably my favorite book) by using the lens of the Suffering Servant to interpret the other prophecies.  What this does is ties Isaiah even more closely to the crucified and risen Lord, and puts another layer there for deeper understanding.

Second, that to be a Christian requires a community.  Father made the point that Jesus sends out his disciples two by two in today’s gospel (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20) so that they could provide support to each other.  The two times His followers went out alone, one betrayed Him and the other denied Him.  The key here is that we are a part of the Body of Christ, and cannot form the Mystical Body on our own, we need others.  Even hermits need the support of a community.  In order to be a community, we need to put aside things that divide us and focus on Christ (which ties back to the Galatians reading).  This was especially meaningful for me because my wife and I have been talking a lot about community and stability, especially with regards to the upcoming move, and how we will fit back in to our community at church in Alexandria and in the broader community.  It was, in a way, an affirmation that we’re on the right track, at least for now.

Third is that Jesus calls us all to see Him, and a natural result of that is that we should want to go out and tell about Him.  The thing to understand, though, is that not everyone is called to evangelize by preaching or discussing.  We are all called to witness, though.  Not only just to witness (that is, see) Jesus, we are called to provide a witness to the world through our lives.  This is also tied to the community point above, in that not only do we need others as support, we also fulfill different roles in the Christian community and in the world so as to perform God’s will.

These were just three of many excellent ideas that Father discussed.  We were certainly fortunate to have such a solid, insight-packed homily for one of our last in Liberia.